- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 31, 2003

From combined dispatches

The man accused of killing Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy suggested he acted in self-defense in a jailhouse interview and said he has been hearing voices, a newspaper reported yesterday.

“I thought he was my friend but he betrayed me,” Carlton Dotson told the Dallas Morning News in a story in today’s editions. “If someone points a gun at you and shoots and it doesn’t go off, what would you do? If someone is pointing a gun at you and they start putting more bullets into the gun, what would you do?”

Asked what he did, Dotson, Dennehy’s former teammate and roommate, only laughed and did not answer, the newspaper reported.

Baltimore television station WZJ-TV reported late last night that Dotson was placed on suicide watch in jail Tuesday.

Dennehy had been missing about six weeks when his decomposed body was found Friday night in a grassy field four miles from the Baylor campus. Investigators had been searching for the 21-year-old at nearby gravel pits, a site police say Dotson provided to them after his July 21 arrest.

Dennehy was shot in the head and died in the field where his body was found, according to an autopsy report released yesterday.

Dotson, 21, remains jailed without bond in Chestertown, Md., and awaits extradition to Texas, which could take as long as three months.

Dotson told FBI agents that he shot Dennehy after the player tried to shoot him, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. After his arrest, Dotson told the Associated Press that he “didn’t confess to anything.”

Dotson told the Morning News that after he moved out of Dennehy’s apartment, his friend often gave him rides.

“I wish I wouldn’t [have] gotten into the truck that day,” he said, declining to elaborate.

The one-page preliminary autopsy report confirmed what authorities had suspected about the death of Dennehy, whose remains were found Friday in the grassy field four miles from Baylor’s campus in Waco. He had disappeared more than a month earlier.

Dennehy’s official cause of death is homicide, the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas said in its report.

The report does not specify how many times Dennehy was shot, whether he suffered any other wounds or the day he died. The complete autopsy is expected to take several more weeks.

Meanwhile, a Maryland cabinet official said it could take as long as three months to extradite Dotson from Maryland to Texas, and the process involves an unusual hearing before an agent of Maryland’s governor.

Dotson will have the chance to come before an assistant attorney general at a hearing in the office of the secretary of state, said Rick Morris, Maryland’s extradition coordinator.

Maryland and South Carolina are the only states that offer “governor’s hearings”, which give suspects another chance to tell authorities why they don’t want to leave the state to face charges, Morris said.

A .32-caliber revolver that belonged to Dennehy was found near his body, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported yesterday, citing an unidentified source close to the investigation.

Near the gun, authorities found .32-caliber bullets that had spilled from an ammunition box, the newspaper reported. There was no evidence the .32 had been fired, but officials recovered nearby shell casings from a 9mm pistol, the paper reported.

Sheriff’s Capt. Paul Wash would not say whether any weapons were found near Dennehy’s remains.

A funeral service is set for Aug.7 at the Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose, Calif., near where Dennehy grew up.A campus memorial service is scheduled Aug. 28 at Baylor, the world’s largest Baptist university, with 14,000 students.

Prosecutors and state officials have said chances are slim that 21-year-old Dotson won’t eventually be sent to Texas. His attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., said he’s not convinced the states have valid reason to turn Dotson over, and he plans to continue opposing extradition.

“Right now my focus is on the matter of extradition — to see if there’s a valid basis for extradition,” Irvin said this week. “It’s a tedious and involved process, and it’s a process no one should underestimate.”

Texas authorities are expected to submit paperwork to the office of Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich that would launch the extradition process. Ehrlich hasn’t yet received that application, said Morris, who also is a deputy director of the secretary of state’s office.

Morris declined to discuss Dotson’s case specifically but outlined Maryland’s unique process for turning inmates over to other states.

If the papers are received within the next three weeks, Morris would assign Dotson to a governor’s hearing in the secretary of state’s office. The hearings, held for any inmate fighting extradition, are held the third Thursday of each month.

The next hearing date is Aug.21, but Morris has the authority to designate a different day, he said.

“These hearings are just another chance for fugitives to express the reasons why they don’t want to go back [to the state charging them],” Morris said.

In the early 1900s, the governor himself would officiate the hearings, said Stuart Buppert, the assistant attorney general who now presides over the proceedings.

The hearings are informal, no transcript is kept, and the suspect is given a chance to speak for himself and to call witnesses on his behalf, Buppert said. Most last about 15 minutes, he said.

Afterward, Buppert would make a recommendation to Ehrlich. In the vast majority of cases, governors sign rendition warrants, which turn the suspects over to the charging state. If Ehrlich signs a rendition warrant, Texas authorities would have up to a month to pick Dotson up.

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