United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND
DISMISSING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
BRAMLETTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Michael T.
Parker's Report and Recommendation (docket entry
31) and Petitioner Dexter Watson's objections
thereto (docket entries 34, 37). Magistrate
Judge Parker recommends that the Court deny Dexter
Watson's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus under 28
U.S.C. § 2254 (docket entry 1). Having reviewed the
Report and Recommendation, Petitioner's objections, and
applicable statutory and case law, the Court finds as
Factual and Procedural Background
is currently in the custody of the Mississippi Department of
Corrections, serving a life sentence for murdering Patricia
Dotson. Dotson died of blunt-force injuries, including a stab
wound severing her jugular vein.
body was found near First Baptist Church in Port Gibson,
Mississippi, on March 6, 2011. On the same day, the Chief
Deputy of the Claiborne County Sheriff's Department
interviewed Watson. The Chief Deputy noticed stains on
Watson's shoes and scratches on Watson's arms. Watson
stated that he had last seen Dotson several days earlier.
Watson was interviewed by an agent for the Mississippi Bureau
of Investigation. Although Watson first told the agent that
he had not seen Dotson in several days, he later stated that
two men named “Cool” and “Little
Will” murdered Dotson. Watson further claimed that he
was outside a home, heard arguing inside, and entered to find
Dotson alive but lying in a pool of blood. Watson stated that
he witnessed two men load Dotson into the back of a car and
dump her body. Watson said he wiped blood off of Dotson's
body with his t-shirt before throwing it into an abandoned
building. The agent was unable to locate the men Watson
implicated and could not corroborate much of Watson's
trial, Watson's testimony cast “Cool” and
“Little Will” as the murderers. Watson testified
that before Dotson and “Little Will” went behind
the church, “Cool” told him, “You better
not open your mouth.” Watson further testified that
when he went behind the church, he found Dotson bleeding.
Dotson said a few words and then died.
Claiborne County jury found Watson guilty of murder,
triggering a sentence of life imprisonment. The Mississippi
Court of Appeals affirmed his conviction, and the Mississippi
Supreme Court denied his petitions for post-conviction
relief. Watson filed Original and Amended Petitions for
Habeas Corpus, raising ten grounds for relief:
(1) Watson was illegally arrested and unreasonably searched
(2) The evidence was insufficient to support Watson's
(3) The jury was improperly instructed.
(4) The jury was not instructed on the essential elements of
the offense of murder.
(5) Watson's constitutional rights were violated when he
was not afforded an initial appearance.
(6) Watson's trial counsel was ineffective in failing to
conduct an adequate ...