Estranged wife still loves Dotson
COMMERCE, Texas -- Melissa Kethley said she didn't know which version of her husband waited for her on a fateful evening in June: the sweet, laid-back basketball player she married, or the angry, violent man she said he turned into.
Authorities say Carlton Dotson called his estranged wife asking for the meeting just hours after he allegedly shot Baylor teammate Patrick Dennehy in a field outside Waco.
She said she found Dotson in a video store parking lot, sitting in a black Chevrolet Tahoe belonging to Dennehy. He wanted to talk.
Over dinner in Sulphur Springs, the East Texas town where Kethley lived after leaving him in April, Dotson discussed reconciliation. He apologized for his past behavior and said he had changed. But he grew nervous and told Kethley not to use her cell phone or tell anyone they'd met, she said.
He drove to a motel and asked her to spend the night. She declined, which led to an argument. She said she got out of the car, slammed the door and walked a half-mile in the rain to her car.
It was the last night they'd speak face-to-face -- the last moments before a murder investigation into Dennehey's death roiled their lives and Baylor's basketball program.
In an interview with The Associated Press at her college campus about 70 miles east of Dallas, Kethley told of how Dotson's behavior changed in the months after their marriage. She said he accused her of cheating with his teammates. She said he hit her. She said he told her he heard voices.
"It's like he wasn't even the same person. His facial expressions, his voice -- it would scare me so bad," she said.
Dotson's extradition from Maryland to Texas is planned in the coming weeks. His lawyers won't allow him to give interviews and did not return a call seeking comment.
Kethley said they met on the second day of Kethley's freshman year at Paris (Texas) Junior College in 2000. They began dating in the fall of 2001 and quickly became inseparable.
The couple had a small wedding Aug. 17, 2002, in their new apartment in Waco. Kethley said Dotson and Dennehy were friends, but Dotson initially was closer to other players.
In October, Dotson started accusing Kethley of cheating on him with his teammates. She said he shouted, pushed and hit her. Once, he shoved her into a television, she said. Another time, she said she ended up with a black eye.
The couple moved into a new apartment in February, but Dotson was so afraid his teammates would visit Kethley that he didn't tell them where he lived. Only Dennehy was allowed to visit.
Dotson continued to accuse his wife of being unfaithful, saying he had visions and heard voices that told him she was cheating. When he calmed down, he would admit he needed help.
Dotson briefly saw a counselor for attention-deficit disorder, but Kethley said he never revealed he heard voices because he feared being labeled insane.
"A bunch of times I packed my stuff. I even loaded up the car. I never left, though," Kethley said. "By the end, I had packed so many times I was living out of boxes."
In April, Kethley moved in with her mother and stepfather, the police chief for Sulphur Springs. Dotson started staying at Dennehy's apartment.
A few weeks later, news of Dennehy's disappearance surfaced and his vehicle was found in a parking lot in Virginia Beach, Va., about 160 miles from Dotson's home in Hurlock, Md.
Kethley said she called Dotson, who was back in Maryland. He said he had not talked to Dennehy and didn't know where he was.
Kethley said she had doubts and asked him several times, but Dotson always swore he had no idea what happened to Dennehy. When she brought it up after that, Dotson hung up on her or changed the subject.
She learned of his arrest July 21 from television reports that night. She cried, got sick and couldn't sleep.
Four days later, investigators found Dennehy's body in field near a rock quarry a few miles southeast of Waco. He had been shot twice in the head.
Dotson has called her from jail numerous times but never mentions Dennehy, Kethley said.
Kethley tries to keep her mind off Dotson, but the tears still come almost every day. She enrolled this fall at Texas A&M-Commerce, and plans a career as a coach and special education teacher.
She said she eventually intends to file for divorce.
"I don't think that I'll ever not love Carlton," she said, crying. "I don't think that I'll ever love anybody like that again."
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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