Warren man faces trial in Oct. slaying

Staff report


A 27-year-old city man who has spent 10 years in prison will go on trial Monday morning in the courtroom of Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on charges that he killed a man by shooting him in the chest in the parking lot of Big Apple Convenient Mart on Youngstown Road on Oct. 3.

James Dotson Jr., of Idylwild Street Northeast, had been out of prison for only about nine weeks when Derek Thrash, 20, of Southern Boulevard was shot about 2:40 a.m. and died later at a hospital.

Dotson was 16 and tried as an adult in 1999 for shooting a man in the eye in Comstock Park, now known as North End Park, on Comstock Avenue Northeast.

Dotson was convicted of two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of felonious assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released from prison July 22, 2009.

A witness said she was in a car in the parking lot of the Big Apple, which was closed at the time, when she heard three gunshots. Thrash asked for a ride to the hospital and passed out. He was pronounced dead about 45 minutes later at Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital.

Though there were about 100 people in the parking lots of the Big Apple and adjacent Pit Stop Food Mart at the time of the shooting, police initially could not locate a witness to the shooting.

Dotson was arrested about 10 days later after a witness came forward, police said.

Dotson is charged with murder, being a repeat violent offender, using a firearm in the commission of the crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

If convicted of all four charges, Dotson could get a life prison sentence with parole eligibility after 33 years.

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