MEMPHIS, TN - It has been almost two months since the deaths of six people in a house on Lester Street in Memphis. Now, one little girl who survived the attack speaks with Eyewitness News Everywhere.
This is the first time any of Cecil Dotson’s children have gone on the record since the day of the murders in the Binghampton neighborhood of Memphis.
722 Lester Street… To most people it is home to the worst mass murder in the history of Memphis, but to Cierra Dotson, it is just "home".
“We used to have a lot of fun. We ride our bikes, we go walk to the park,” said 13 year-old Cierra Dotson.
But that ended on March 2, 2008, the day her father, his girlfriend, two of their friends, and two of Cierra’s siblings were murdered. It was also the day Cierra turned 13.
Cierra said, “we were trying to call him (Cecil), cause we were supposed to do something for my birthday and we couldn’t get in touch with him.”
The last time Cierra Dotson saw her father was two days earlier, Friday, February 29. She left the home to go to school, but later in the day she had a panic attack and was taken to the hospital. Her father picked her up and took her to her mother’s home for the weekend. It was a weekend visit that saved the little girl’s life.
Cierra does not read too much into what happened. She is a happy girl who likes school and gets excited when she is asked about her brothers and sister. Cierra laughed while saying, “one of them’s name is Cemarrio, he was four. One of them was ‘Man-Man’, he was two. And the newborn baby, Cemiyah, is four months. And my brother, CJ, is 10 and my other brother, Cedric, is six.”
As easily as she rattles off their names, Cierra remembers everything about the time she had with her father, Cecil Dotson. “We used to go out to eat, we used to play, talk about father and daughter day and he used to take me somewhere and we go outside and shoot the BB gun,” said Cierra.
Cierra says her father’s girlfriend, Marissa Williams, was like a second mother to her and a friend. “I liked her because she would come and get me when school was out. And if I call home sick, she would come up there and get me and we’ll buy a drink or some medicine and we’ll come home and talk or watch movies and go to sleep,” said Cierra.
Since the man accused of the murders, Jessie Dotson (the children’s uncle), was released from prison last August, Cierra and the children spent a lot of time around him. “We go the skating rink before we go out to eat and he would skate with us,” remembered Cierra.
But, according to police, the man who gave her hours of joy; would bring her a lifetime of pain.
“I didn’t believe it… Because I don’t think he would do that,” said Cierra when asked about her uncle Jessie Dotson.
While she doesn’t believe her own uncle killed her family, Cierra admits she saw another side of Jessie. She said, “they got into it that day over a jacket and uncle Jessie told my dad he gon' kill him, so my dad put him out the house and my dad called police. I ran to the back and locked my door… Cemarrio ran back to my room. He was beating on my door talking bout ‘Cierra let me in, I’m scared too.’ He was crying, I let him in. The other ones went to their room.”
But the day police say Jessie shot her family, Cierra was not able to help. She says she wants her siblings to know, even though they no longer live in the same house: “Their daddy’s gone, but they still got me.”