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Dotson nixes attorneys from extradition fight

11/21/2003 - Baylor Bears

WACO, Texas -- A former Baylor University basketball player
accused of killing an ex-teammate decided Friday to keep his
court-appointed attorneys for his murder trial.

Sherwood Wescott and Purcell Luke, of Salisbury, Md., and
Kenneth Weatherspoon, of Dallas had sought to replace the Waco
attorneys for Carlton Dotson, 21. Wescott and Luke were hired to
represent Dotson while he fought extradition from his home state of
Maryland to Texas.

Dotson is accused of shooting Patrick Dennehy, 21, in June in a
field near a rock quarry 5 miles from the Baylor campus. When
Dennehy's body was found six weeks later, an autopsy revealed two
gunshot wounds in the head.

During a five-minute hearing Friday, state District Judge George
Allen asked Dotson if he wanted to keep attorneys Russ Hunt Sr. and
Abel Reyna. Dotson said yes.

"That's his choice," Wescott said Friday. "The family did
retain our services. Even though you're hired by the family, it is
up to the defendant."

Dotson, who was arrested July 21 in Maryland, faces from five
years to life in prison if convicted.

During Dotson's first court appearance in Texas on Oct. 29, the
day after he was transported from Maryland, he signed a pauper's
oath indicating he had no money. The judge then appointed Hunt and
Reyna.

Two weeks later, the Maryland attorneys filed a motion seeking
to represent Dotson.

Neither Wescott nor Luke is licensed to practice law in Texas,
but they could have become licensed by filing an application and
paying a fee. Weatherspoon has practiced criminal law in Texas for
17 years.

Reyna said he and Hunt have established a relationship with
Dotson and that their familiarity with the Texas court system may
have influenced Dotson's decision. Hunt said they spoke to Dotson
briefly after the hearing.

"He said he thought he made the right decision," Hunt said.

Meanwhile, Dennehy's mother and stepfather plan to file a
lawsuit against Baylor before year's end.

Brian Brabazon, the player's stepfather, said the family has
been in counseling and is still grieving.

"It's getting tough now because this would be the time that we
would be planning Patrick's trip home for the holidays," said
Brabazon, who lives in Carson City, Nev.

The slain player's father, Patrick Dennehy Sr., who lives in
Washington state, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against
Baylor, Bliss, former athletic director Tom Stanton, president
Robert Sloan and others. Dennehy Sr. had been estranged from his
son until a few years before the athlete's death.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges Dennehy
was trying to expose wrongdoing in the university's basketball
program when "violent threats" were made against him, leading up
to his slaying.

After Dennehy's death, questions surfaced about possible NCAA
violations and the school launched a probe. Baylor officials
discovered that Bliss was involved in improper tuition payments for
Dennehy and another player and that the coaching staff did not
properly report some players' failed drug tests.