Jessie Dotson to Wed in Prison
Lester Street Murderer Currently Engaged
Updated: Tuesday, 24 May 2011, 9:42 PM CDT
Published : Tuesday, 24 May 2011, 9:38 PM CDT
Jessie Dotson to Wed in Prison: MyFoxMEMPHIS.com
Memphis, Tn - Mass-murderer Jessie Dotson, is planning on tying the knot in prison. He met his now fiancé after he was arrested for the Lester Street murders.
Dotson's fiancé didn't want us to use her name. She says people ask her all the time if she's crazy. She says she's not.
But, she wouldn't talk about why she wants to marry Dotson or details about their relationship. She says she wears a ring she bought herself and says Dotson will wear one too in prison too. While prison weddings are allowed we found, there are strict regulations.
During his death row interview Jessie Dotson told us, "I have a fiancé."
The 36-year old convicted killer says he's planning to get married in August.
He says his fiancé, a 45-year old Horn Lake, Mississippi woman, started writing him letters, while he was locked up at 201 Poplar after being arrested for the Lester Street murders.
Dotson says, "we've been together for 3 years now."
In October, Dotson was convicted of killing 6 people at the Lester Street home, including his brother and 2 young nephews. A jury gave him 6 death penalty sentences.
Dotson says his fiancé went to the trial just a couple times.
When asked if his fiancé thought he did it, Dotson said, "Ummm...I can't really speak for her. She could tell me one thing, but think another."
His fiancé told us over the phone, she loves Jessie Dotson and does not think he's guilty. They've been engaged for 2 years.
Dotson's mother, Priscilla Shaw, says his fiancé called her once before, "First thing came to my mind is what is wrong with this lady? Is she crazy? How can you see a killer on the news and you want to marry him? Some lady's like jail men, maybe she's one of those. What kind of marriage are you gonna have with a man on death row?"
In 1987, the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners have a constitutionally protected right to marry. While unusual, prison weddings are not unheard of.
Convicted child-killer Damien Echols has been married more than 10 years. His wife, Lori Davis, a Manhattan architect, started writing him after he was arrested for killing three 8-year old West Memphis boys in 1994. The two married at an Arkansas prison chapel in 1999.
In November, Echols told us keeping a prison marriage alive, on death row, is difficult, "When you are married to someone out there you take it for granted, physical intimacy, coming home to someone your married to, you don't have that in a situation like this. It forces you to grow together psychologically and emotionally. You have to find other means of connecting, bringing together."
In Tennessee, inmates must get permission from the warden before getting married. There are 2 counseling sessions with both the bride and groom.
A spokesperson says Dotson's wedding would take place in the visiting area, with "appropriate restraints for his security level."
At the ceremony there is no cake, no cameras and just 4 pre-approved visitors. The wedding is non-contact, meaning no kiss. Death row inmates are never allowed conjugal visits.
Dotson says that she is the love of his life.
Dotson's fiancé wouldn't tell us what she does for a living but says she's not working now because she had surgery. She says she's been married once before.
Dotson has not been married, but says he gets a 4 to 6 letters a week, mostly from women, some even propose to him in their letters. http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/dpp/news/crime/jessie-dotson-to-wed-in-prison-rpt-20110524