Trial begins for Vidalia man accused in fatal 2013 shooting

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, October 28, 2014

VIDALIA A Vidalia man accused in an August 2013 fatal shooting will go to trial today.

Vincent Dotson, 21, allegedly shot Derec “Beedy” Dobbins, 24, in the chest Aug. 28, 2013 on Morris Lee Lane.

Dobbins was pronounced dead at 1:15 a.m. that morning at Natchez Regional Medical Center.

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A witness said at the time the two had been arguing on Davis Street, but Dobbins was in the process of trying to resolve the situation before the fatal shot rang out. Those who knew the two said they were known to be friends.

The trial was scheduled for Monday, but the entire day’s proceedings — approximately seven hours — were spent seating a jury.

The court vetted 50 potential jurors from the jury pool before ultimately finding a jury of five white women, two black women, four white men and one black man. The alternates chosen were a black man and a white woman.

District Attorney Brad Burget said he expects the trial to last through Wednesday.

If convicted of the second-degree murder with which he is charged, Dotson faces a mandatory sentence of life without possibility of parole.

“(The judge) doesn’t have any discretion,” Burget said.

“‘Life’ means life in Louisiana. It’s a pretty big sentence, because someone lost their life.”

Addressing potential jurors Monday, Burget said murder trials can be graphic but as the prosecutor he will bear the burden of proving beyond reasonable doubt the suspect’s guilt.

“There will be no doubt at the end of this trial that someone took Mr. Dobbins’ life, that someone took a .38 (caliber gun) and put it to his chest and pulled the trigger,” Burget said. “If that was Mr. Dotson is for the jury to decide.”

The jury could also return verdicts of guilty of manslaughter, guilty of negligent homicide or not guilty.