Dotson defense to explore all options

Updated: October 30, 2003, 12:43 AM ET
Associated Press

WACO, Texas -- Attorneys appointed to represent the former Baylor University basketball player charged in the shooting death of an ex-teammate said it's too soon to say whether they will seek an insanity defense.

Waco attorneys Russ Hunt and Abel Reyna were appointed to represent Carlton Dotson on Wednesday during his first court appearance in Texas, the day after he was extradited from his home state of Maryland.

At the start of the hearing, the 6-foot-7 Dotson stood stoically before state District Judge George Allen and was told that he had been indicted on a murder charge and faced a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Allen asked if any attorneys were with him; Dotson said "no." When asked if he had funds, Dotson mumbled that he was trying to get some money, then answered "no" when the judge asked if he had any now.

The judge appointed the Waco defense attorneys after Dotson filled out a pauper's oath declaring that he had no money.

Dotson, 21, had been jailed in his home state of Maryland the past three months, and he recently gave up an extradition fight.

He was arrested July 21 after calling police from a supermarket, saying he was hearing voices and needed counseling. Officers took him to a hospital, where he contacted the FBI. Later, he denied that he confessed to killing his former teammate and roommate Patrick Dennehy.

Dotson was indicted in August in the death of Dennehy, 21, who had been missing six weeks when his body was found July 25 in a field near a rock quarry south of Waco. The 6-foot-10 player had been shot twice in the head.

Hunt and Reyna said they met briefly with Dotson after the hearing but had not seen the prosecution's files. Later, the attorneys entered a not guilty plea on Dotson's behalf, according to the McLennan County Web site.

Hunt said he would explore all options, including insanity and self-defense, just as he would do in any case.

"Only a fool makes up his mind before seeing the facts," Hunt said after the hearing.

District Attorney John Segrest later said the bond could be set at another hearing, but Hunt said he did not plan to seek bond because Dotson was indigent.

McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch and two deputies picked up Dotson at 6 a.m. Tuesday. They flew commercial airlines from Baltimore to Dallas and then on to Austin, before driving Dotson to Waco.

Lynch said Dotson was restrained but would not comment on security measures or say how airplane passengers reacted.

Dotson had returned to his hometown of Hurlock, Md., in June after leaving Baylor.

The case rocked the Baptist school and its basketball program. Coach Dave Bliss and Baylor's athletic director resigned in August amid revelations of NCAA violations. School investigators said two players had received improper financial aid and employees did not properly report some players' failed drug tests.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE