Plot to Tunnel Out of Jail, Kill Judge Gets Inmate More Time in the Slammer

A plot to tunnel out of jail, kill a federal judge and flee to other countries has added three years to the sentence of a former Mississippi strip club manager and two years to his cellmate's sentence.

U.S. District Judge James Brady said Gray "Big Daddy" Dotson a sentence on the low end of federal guidelines because he's already serving 40 years for running a violent methamphetamine ring in Baton Rouge and tampering with grand jury witnesses.

"I hope you've learned a lesson and you won't be trying stupid things like you did there in the future," he told Dotson, 45, former manager of Illusions Gentlemen's Club in Woodville, Miss.

Prosecutors said Dotson had convinced cellmate Carruth Motichek of Sorrento to kill U.S. District Judge Ralph Tyson, who had sentenced Dotson, after they escaped.

Brady told Motichek he had considered a higher sentence than suggested by federal guidelines "because I don't know what else to do to get your attention."

Motichek spent time in federal prison two years ago for buying a silencer — allegedly to shoot state District Judge Pegram Mire Jr., of Ascension Parish — and was sent back for another three months after admitting that he beat his wife two days after he was released.

Both were convicted in December of trying to escape from the Ascension Parish Prison while awaiting transfer to a federal prison in December 2005.

They used a door-strike plate, a piece of fencing and a locker door to scrape mortar from their shared cellblock, flushing the debris down the toilet. The plot was foiled when other inmates reported it.

Authorities have said the inmates had no hope of getting out. But Brady said Thursday that trial testimony convinced him they would have gotten out within days, maybe hours.

"I don't think the authorities would ever have found out," the judge said. "The digging went on for several nights and was so loud it kept other inmates awake. But nobody ever came to check on it."