Indictment would be crucial step toward extradition

Updated: August 27, 2003, 11:18 AM ET
Associated Press

WACO, Texas -- Prosecutors were presenting evidence to a McLennan County grand jury Wednesday and expected a murder indictment against a former Baylor basketball player accused of killing his teammate.

District Attorney John Segrest was presenting evidence Wednesday morning in the case against Carlton Dotson, accused in the shooting death of forward Patrick Dennehy, a spokeswoman with the district attorney's office told The Associated Press.

Law enforcement sources told the Waco Tribune-Herald in Wednesday's editions that no witnesses other than McLennan County Sheriff's Office investigator Clay Perry and Waco Police Department detective Bob Fuller likely will testify Wednesday against Dotson.

Melissa Kethley, Dotson's estranged wife, testified for about an hour before the same grand jury two weeks ago. Grand jury proceedings are confidential, but it is likely that prosecutors wanted Kethley pinned down under oath and on the record about Dotson's mental state around the time of Dennehy's death, the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity have told the Tribune-Herald.

Kethley, who separated from Dotson in April and moved back to her hometown of Sulphur Springs, has said she views Dotson's arrest as a blessing in disguise because she thinks he needs attention for mental disorders.

Segrest and his staff decided to seek an indictment against Dotson, 21, who is held at Kent County Detention Center in Maryland, before asking Texas Gov. Rick Perry to request Dotson's extradition from Gov. Robert Ehrlich, the Waco paper reported in Wednesday editions.

Segrest's office will formalize a request to Perry's office seeking Dotson's extradition if the grand jury returns an indictment. If Dotson continues to contest extradition, a judge in Maryland will schedule an extradition hearing, the results of which Dotson could appeal.

A Chestertown, Md., judge agreed last week to keep Dotson in jail for up to 60 more days as prosecutors work to extradite him to Texas. Dotson was arrested in his home state July 21 and charged with murder in the death of Dennehy, 21, near Waco.

Prosecutors in Maryland asked a judge for permission to hold Dotson while Texas prosecutors seek the grand jury indictment needed to begin the extradition process. As required by Maryland law, Kent County District Court Judge Floyd Parks held a 30-day status review of the fugitive warrant under which Dotson has been held.

The judge granted the motion, to which defense attorneys did not object, but he warned Flanagan that Dotson could not be held for more than 90 days. Defense attorneys say they have not waived extradition.

An autopsy report showed that Dennehy died of two gunshot wounds to the head. His body was found in a field near Waco on July 25, four days after Dotson was charged with murder.

Dennehy played two seasons for the New Mexico Lobos before transferring to Baylor in the spring of 2002.

Dennehy's disappearance in mid-June, and the naming of Dotson as a "person of interest" in the case, prompted intense scrutiny of Baylor and its basketball program.

Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton resigned Aug. 8. School investigators said they discovered that Bliss was involved in two players receiving improper financial aid, and that staff members did not properly report failed drug tests.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press