WACO, Texas – Former Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson (search) was sentenced to 35 years in prison Wednesday, a week after he unexpectedly pleaded guilty to murdering his teammate two years ago.
Dotson, 23, faced from five years to life in prison for killing Patrick Dennehy (search), 21, who was missing for six weeks before his body was found in field a few miles from campus in July 2003. On June 8, five days before his murder trial was to start, Dotson pleaded guilty without a sentencing deal with prosecutors.
Instead of hearing from witnesses Wednesday, state District Judge Ralph Strother made his decision based on documents filed by prosecutors and defense attorneys.
Part of the prosecution's report included FBI documents detailing Dotson's confession, in which he said "a higher power told him to talk to the FBI" and told authorities where to look for Dennehy. The body was found a few days later.
Dotson told agents that he thought people were trying to kill him because "he is Jesus, the son of God." Dotson, who moved in with Dennehy in May 2003, said he had received threatening telephone calls and that the two bought guns for protection.
He told FBI agents that on June 11, Dennehy pointed a gun at him after the pair went to gravel pits for target practice. When Dennehy's gun jammed, Dotson said "Father, please forgive me," and shot his friend. He then went to pack his belongings, called a relative to wire him money and drove home to Maryland, throwing the gun in a lake along the way.
But the autopsy doesn't support his self-defense claim. Dennehy was shot twice: once above the right ear and once behind it toward the back of the head.
Last fall, Dotson was found incompetent to stand trial and was sent to a state mental hospital. He was released and returned to jail in February after a hospital psychologist said Dotson was competent but must continue to take anti-psychotic medication.