Wed, Jul 23, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Dennehy's former roommate arrested on murder charges

AP , CHESTERTOWN, MARYLAND

The former roommate of a Baylor University basketball player who has been missing since mid-June has been arrested on murder charges, authorities said.

Carlton Dotson was arrested Monday night on a warrant issued by police in Waco, Texas, where Patrick Dennehy has been missing for more than a month, Chestertown Police Chief Walter Coryell said. No body had been found.

Sargent Ryan Holt, a Waco police spokesman, told that Dotson confessed to killing Dennehy and described a location where Dennehy's body might be found. He told the newspaper that police were searching that location Monday night, but declined to elaborate.

Law enforcement sources in Texas and Maryland told the Waco Tribune-Herald that they have a "general location" in McLennan County, Texas.

As he left the court commissioner's office Monday night, Dotson told a reporter: "I didn't confess to anything. Call the FBI."

Shortly after his arrest, Dotson had referred all questions to his lawyer.

Dotson's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., said in a telephone interview that he had last spoken with his client over the weekend. He would not say what they discussed.

"It is most unfortunate that police have come to the conclusion that there is a death," Irvin said. "I am uncertain as to how they came to that conclusion, that Patrick Dennehy is now dead."

Two officers escorted Dotson, in handcuffs, into the police station about 9:20pm local time. He emerged about 15 minutes later with Coryell, another officer and an FBI agent.

Dotson, 21, was fingerprinted and processed at the police department, Coryell said. He was then taken to the Kent County court commissioner's office, where he was ordered held without bond at the county jail.

Dotson will have another hearing Tuesday. If he waives extradition, he will be returned to Texas, Coryell said.

Holt said in a statement that Dotson contacted authorities in Maryland and said he wanted to talk to the FBI about Dennehy's disappearance. He said his department would not comment further until a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Waco.

Last Thursday, Dotson voluntarily went to the sheriff's office near Hurlock to make a statement about Dennehy's disappearance. He was never in custody and was not arrested.

On Sunday, Coryell said Dotson was in Chestertown, about 90km from his hometown of Hurlock, when he called police from a grocery store.

"He said he needed help," Coryell said. "We took him to the hospital for an evaluation. During his stay there he contacted the FBI."

The police chief said Dotson stayed overnight at a Chestertown hospital, then left early Monday afternoon with FBI agents.

He was interviewed by the FBI and "as a result of that interview, this warrant has been issued," the chief said. The chief declined to elaborate on Dotson's statement and calls to the FBI were not immediately returned.

Dennehy's girlfriend, Jessica De La Rosa, choked back tears Monday night after she learned Dotson was charged with killing Dennehy.

"I was really, truly hoping in my heart that he was alive somewhere out there," said De La Rosa, 20, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. "I was hoping maybe he'd be hiding."

Dennehy's Chevrolet Tahoe was found June 25 in a shopping mall parking lot in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

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