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Jessie Dotson's Girlfriend, Sister Testify in Lester Street Trial

Lovers quarrels, a love triangle, drama unfolded on the witness stand in the Jessie Dotson mass murder trial.
MEMPHIS, TN - Lovers quarrels, a love triangle, drama unfolded on the witness stand in the Jessie Dotson mass murder trial. It's been two and a half years since the Lester Street Massacre that claimed six men, women and children. Tuesday, people relived the events of that night for the courtroom.

“They brought a baby out to her with her neck slit and asked me, ‘Is this your baby?’ It was not,” said Erica Smith.

It wasn't her baby police brought out, but Erica Smith lost her two year old, Cecil Dotson II, and his father Cecil Dotson Sr. in the Lester Street Massacre. She says she last spoke with her child's father around 2 am the day he was killed.

“He and Jessie were arguing in the background,” she said.

Her relationship with Cecil Dotson was rocky. Pictures show them partying together. But Cecil was living with the mother of his other kids, Marissa Williams, another one of the murder victims. Smith talks about a fight weeks before the murders.

“An altercation had happened because Cecil was mad Tammy had called Marissa to the club and he drove me and my car into a tree,” said Smith.

Smith called the cops when no one came to the door at Lester Street, and she couldn’t find Cecil anywhere.

“I knew something was wrong with my child because I have mother’s intuition,” said Smith.

Defense attorneys say her story doesn't match up with the cell phone records.

“You made a call to Cecil between 12 and 5 am. Is that as true as everything else you told this jury?” asked defense attorney Gerald Skahan.

“I’m saying around two, you’re saying point blank 2, no sir,” Smith responded. “What I’m saying is I talked to him, he rushed me off the phone, I heard arguing. I assumed they went to sleep after that ‘cause I didn’t get a response from him anymore. I assumed they went to sleep or they probably went back to arguing. I wasn’t there sir, so does than answer your question?”

They asked Smith why she didn't tell cops about the fight between Cecil and Jessie while they searched for the killer.

“I wouldn’t have thought his brother had such hate in his heart,” said Smith.

Later, the woman dating Jessie Dotson at the time of the Lester street murders talked about seeing him at her home right after the massacre.

Sheila Jones took the stand Tuesday. She said she started dating Jessie Dotson in October of 2007. They met through his sister Nicole, who he moved in with when he got out of prison. Prosecutors showed a picture of brothers Cecil and Jessie the day Jessie got out.

“He came and stayed with me,” said Nicole Dotson. “I didn’t ask him to, and I didn’t want him to, but I was too scared to ask him to leave.”

The morning of March 2nd, Jessie came over to Sheila's house. Sheila wasn't there, but her daughter Kierra was. Kierra says Jessie went into the bathroom.

“I heard water running in the bathroom,” said Kierra Jones. “I don’t know what he was doing, but I did hear the water was running.”

Later, she said she saw bleach stains on the bathroom rug and a bottle of bleach in the hallway. Keirra's mother Sheila came home about an hour later. Sheila says Jessie Dotson was awake in her bed.

“He stated to me ladies don’t come in at 5 o’clock in the morning,” said Sheila Jones. “And that was the only conversation we had.”

Sheila says the day after the murders, Jessie asked her to pick him up on Lester Street. She says, when she got there, she saw police cars and investigators surrounding the house. After Jessie was arrested, Sheila spoke to him behind bars.

“He told me he told the police that he had put the bike at my house,” said Jones.

The bike Dotson rode away from Lester Street was in the shed behind her house. That's not all Dotson told his girlfriend.

“I asked him if he was there, why don’t he help the police with the investigation,” Jones testified. “He said that they got to figure it out.”

Jessie Dotson faces six counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

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