Murder trial continues with accounts of shooting

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, October 29, 2014

VIDALIA — Derec “Beedy” Dobbins died trying to resolve a conflict he didn’t understand, his friends testified Tuesday.

Vincent “Hustler” Dotson, of Vidalia, is on trial for the Aug. 28, 2013, shooting that ended Dobbins life.

In court Tuesday, two of Dobbins’ friends — Tommy Duck and Justin Rogers — gave eyewitness accounts of the killing.

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Duck and Rogers both testified Dobbins and Dotson knew each other and often played basketball and hung out together.

But sometime in the year before Dobbins’ death, Dotson became convinced Dobbins had set him up in a dog-trading incident in which he had been treated poorly.

Duck and Rogers said Dobbins had nothing to do with the incident and was puzzled why Dotson thought he was.

Throughout the year, however, Dotson would still often join their group of friends.

During that same time period, they said, he was known to carry a revolver and play around with it. Duck said the friends had asked him to put the gun away before.

The night before the shooting, Dobbins, Duck, Rogers and several other friends were hanging out at a residence on Davis Street. Shortly after the other friends left to purchase some beer, Dotson appeared from the area of Morris Lee Lane.

“Hustler showed up out of the alley,” Rogers said. “He just stood there and didn’t say anything.”

Duck said Dobbins approached Dotson, asking him to explain why sometimes he acted as if he did not like Dobbins.

“He was saying, ‘What did I do to you?” Duck said. “‘Let’s talk about it.’

“Beedy didn’t have a conflict. It was Dotson’s problem.”

Duck and Rogers said Dobbins tried to appeal for peace with Dotson by pointing out their numerous personal connections and why they should be on good terms.

Dotson started walking off, and after a couple of minutes of trying to engage him, Dobbins asked if he wanted a hug, Duck said.

“(Dotson) stopped, turned around, rubbed his head, put his hands in his pockets, Beedy said a couple more words and then (Dotson) shot him,” Duck said.

The two men were standing fairly close together when the shooting occurred, Duck said.

When District Attorney Brad Burget asked if Dotson might have had a reason to feel threatened, Duck said he did not.

“That was what was so surprising,” Duck said. “(Dobbins) didn’t do anything.”

Following the shooting, Dotson fled the scene.

Deanna Robinson, who is married to Dotson’s uncle, testified she found Dotson walking on Spruce Street and picked him up in order to take him to turn himself in.

Dotson insisted he be taken to Ferriday to turn himself in to Ferriday Police officer Ricky Hollins because he was afraid a white officer from Vidalia might kill him, Robinson said.

After a trip to Ferriday and a detour on Doty Road, however, Robinson said she met up with Dotson’s sister, Tiffany Dotson, and several others on the road in Ferriday, and they drove to the Pentecostals of the Miss-Lou church so Tiffany could speak with Vincent Dotson.

Vincent Dotson’s father, Vince Bates, was also present at the church in a separate vehicle.

Robinson said after Dotson got out of her car she left the area.

At the same time Dotson was exchanging vehicles, Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Brendan Russell — who had helped at the shooting scene but had returned to routine patrol — was passing by the church.

Russell said he pulled into the parking lot to see what was happening, because it was early morning hours.

“To be honest, I thought it was some kids being kids,” he said.

As he pulled into the parking lot, two of the vehicles — those driven by Bates and Robinson — pulled out, while the third vehicle started circling the church building, Russell said.

“Initially, I thought it was kids who had been drinking throwing out their alcohol from the vehicle,” he said.

When Russell activated his police car lights, the third vehicle charged toward him before heading out to the highway in a low-speed, he said.

As he began pursuing the third car, the SUV driven by Bates came up behind him at a high rate of speed, Russell said.

“At one point, it was so close I could not see the headlights,” he said.

Eventually, two other deputies were able to join Russell on the highway and form a rolling roadblock to force the car with Dotson inside from the road. During the maneuver, Bates’ vehicle fell back, though Russell said it arrived on the scene shortly after.

The officers didn’t know who was in the vehicle until it was stopped, and they were removing the passengers, Russell said.

Dotson was transported to the CPSO’s investigative unit that night, but declined to make a statement, Russell said.

Other witnesses at the trial Tuesday included CPSO deputy Rob Polk, Vidalia Police Sgt. Jimmy Watts, CPSO Sgt. Johnny Evans, CPSO Lt. Mike Clark, CPSO Capt. Jack Fletcher, Vidalia Capt. Walter Williams and Vidalia Sgt. Heath Edwards.

The trial will continue today.