FROM THE THIRTIETH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF VERNON,
NO. 88892 HONORABLE VERNON BRUCE CLARK, DISTRICT JUDGE
Skinner, District Attorney Terry W. Lambright, Assistant
District Attorney COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
Constance Hanes Louisiana Appellate Project COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Matthew R. Dotson
composed of Sylvia R. Cooks, John D. Saunders, and Elizabeth
A. Pickett, Judges.
R. COOKS JUDGE.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Matthew Dotson, lived with the victims in this case, his
girlfriend, Misty Marshall, and her nine-year-old son,
Day-Min. Also residing in that home was their daughter,
toddler Zinlee Dotson, as well as Ms. Marshall's teenage
daughter, Jasmine Moses. At the end of the Thanksgiving 2015
break for school, the children got their school gear together
and the family had supper. Day-min and Jasmine each went to
bed. When Jasmine woke up the next day, she noticed her
mother and brother were not present, and the living room
appeared to be in disarray.
Jasmine saw Defendant, he appeared flustered and was
repeatedly going outside and coming back inside. He told
Jasmine that they had to pack and leave, and also told her
that her mother and Day-Min were in Shreveport. The teenager
packed for herself and her younger sister. Defendant then
removed the gaming systems and video games. When Jasmine took
Zinlee out of her playpen and went outside, she saw their
mother's corpse on the ground, wrapped in blue bubble
wrap. Defendant tried to load the body into his truck with an
engine hoist; when that didn't work, he told Jasmine that
she had to help him load the body. Jasmine stated Defendant
threatened her and told her he had killed her mother and
brother. Defendant was armed with a pistol. Eventually, they
drove down a logging trail, put her mother's body in a
ditch and put a piece of plywood over it. After that, they
drove to a GameStop, where Defendant sold the gaming systems
and games. They then left the state.
Marshall's mother became concerned after not hearing from
her and contacted police. During the subsequent
investigation, police located Day-Min's corpse in a car
in the backyard of the residence.
February 11, 2016, a Vernon Parish grand jury indicted
Defendant on two counts of first degree murder, in violation
of La.R.S. 14:30. On September 18 and 19, 2017, a jury was
selected. Trial began on September 20, and after a two day
trial, the jury found Defendant guilty as charged.
October 30, 2017, the district court sentenced Defendant to
life imprisonment for each count. Defendant now seeks review
by this court, asserting two assignments of error. For the
following reasons, we affirm Defendant's convictions and
OF ERROR NO. 1
first assignment of error, Defendant argues the evidence
adduced at trial was insufficient to support his convictions
for first degree murder. He claims the State lacked any
physical evidence linking him to the crimes and the case was
wholly based on circumstantial evidence. His chief argument
is that the State did not establish his identity as the
court, in State v. Giles, 04-359, pp. 9-10 (La.App.
3 Cir. 10/6/04), 884 So.2d 1233, 1240-41, writ
denied, 04-2756 (La. 3/11/05), 896 ...