Psychiatrist reports Dotson 'hallucinating' often

Updated: October 20, 2004, 6:56 PM ET
Associated Press

WACO, Texas -- The former Baylor University basketball player accused of gunning down a teammate will be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment before he can be tried for murder, a judge said Wednesday.

State District Judge George Allen received a report from a court-appointed psychiatrist who said Carlton Dotson "consistently appears to be hallucinating" and needs medication at a psychiatric hospital.

Last month Allen appointed an independent expert to evaluate Dotson after a defense psychologist and a state psychiatrist said the former athlete appeared to be incompetent to stand trial. Allen also delayed Dotson's October trial indefinitely.

Dr. Stephen L. Mark said he met with Dotson three times and reviewed his medical records, an August brain scan and police notes. He said Dotson is "not a mentally retarded person" but has psychosis and, with treatment at a hospital, could "regain competency to stand trial in the foreseeable future."

Dotson, 22, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of shooting Patrick Dennehy, who was missing about six weeks before his body was found in July 2003 in a field near Baylor's Waco campus.

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

In the Oct. 14 reports filed Wednesday, Mark said Dotson was distracted and slow to answer basic questions. Dotson rambled and laughed at inappropriate times, and he has shown "consistently peculiar behavior" in jail, Mark said.

Because Mark agreed with the other two experts, the judge can send Dotson to a state mental hospital for up to 120 days. Allen told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he will meet with Dotson's attorneys Thursday to decide when to send Dotson to the hospital.

If Mark had disagreed with the state and defense experts, Allen would have held a competency hearing in which a judge or a jury would have decided the competency issue.

Mark also said that Dotson understands the charges against him and consequences of the trial but "cannot consistently disclose to his lawyers pertinent facts, events and states of mind." Mark said Dotson cannot behave appropriately in court or testify in his own interest.

A few days before Dennehy was found dead, Dotson was arrested in his home state of Maryland after calling police from a store, 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 Dennehy. Authorities have refused to discuss a motive for the slaying.

Some people close to Dotson said he reported hearing voices and seeing visions as early as 2002.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press