UPDATE: Sexual Abuse Suspect Sentenced to Minimum of 700 Years in Prison

By: Josh McComas, Sarah Sager Email
By: Josh McComas, Sarah Sager Email

UPDATE 2/15/12 @ 5:30 p.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man labeled as a sexual predator by a Boone County court learned his fate Wednesday.

In January, a jury found Howard Dotson guilty on 89 counts of sexually abusing and raping four girls under the age of 11.

A judge on Wednesday sentenced Dotson to a minimum of 700 years served consecutively behind bars.

Dotson stayed silent during the majority of his sentencing Wednesday afternoon.

"My physical scars will eventually heal, but my emotional scars I have for life," victim Ruth Gore said.

Dotson refused to look up as two of the women he abused took the stand.

"He beat our dog once with a bumper jack and killed it, just something else for him to put the fear in us," victim Jerri Trent said.

However, Trent is no longer afraid.

"When I see him now, all I see is a weak, old, scared man. I want him to know that after all he put me through, I turned out to be a very strong, hard-headed and determined woman,” Trent said.

Dotson addressed the court only once.

"I believe that I was not given a fair chance to present anything here," Dotson said.

"It’s been a long day coming. Unfortunately it took 18 years to get here, but we got here. Our job is done," Boone County Prosecutor Keith Randolph said.

"All those years growing up he told us no one would ever believe us. If we ever tried he would kill us. But guess what? He was wrong," Trent said.

Lives that have been filled with so much pain can now rest knowing that justice will finally be served.



UPDATE 2/15/12 @ 1 p.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man from Boone County will spend the rest of his life in prison.

A judge sentenced Howard Dotson Wednesday on multiple charges of sexual assault.

Last month a jury found Dotson guilty of 89 counts of sexual assault. Investigators say the girls were between five and 11 years old when the abuse happened.

Dotson was sentenced to a minimum of 700 years behind bars, the max would up to 1,400 years.

During the sentencing hearing, the judge called Dotson a "sexual predator."

Two of the four victims took the stand to give their impact statements. Another victim asked a court appointed person to read a letter. The fourth victim didn't speak out in court.

Dotson was taken straight to jail to serve his sentence.

Dotson is originally from Boone County, but he was living in Colorado when he was charged with the crimes.



UPDATE 2/15/12 @ 11:00 a.m.
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man convicted on multiple charges of sexual assault dating back decades will learn his fate Wednesday.

Howard Dotson is scheduled to be sentenced at the Boone County Courthouse.

Last month a jury found Dotson guilty of 89 counts of sexual assault. Investigators say the girls were between five and 11 years old when the abuse happened.

Dotson is originally from Boone County, but he was living in Colorado when he was charged with the crimes.

Dotson faces up to 3,000 years in prison when he is sentenced.

We have a crew at the courthouse. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/12/12
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- After 11 years as a fugitive, a man who preyed on young girls will be going to prison for the rest of his life.

There were so many charges against Howard Dotson, his conviction on those charges means his sentence, mathematically anyway, will be three thousand years.

It's not everyday you see the accused with a shirt pulled up over his head. But the man behind the disguise, Howard Dotson, can't hide from the facts.

A jury in Boone County convicted him Thursday on multiple charges of sexual abuse of young girls dating back 40 years. Justice served for retired West Virginia senior trooper George Spangler. He started this investigation in the 1990's.

"I would have come back if it had been ten years from now," Spangler told us outside the courtroom. "The victims deserve this. Justice was served today."

In any case like this, a conviction is a big relief for the prosecution, which becomes heavily invested in the victim's pain. Just ask Boone County prosecuting attorney Keith Randolph.

"It's been a very emotional time since I've been involved with them," Randolph said. "They've been waiting for this day, and you could tell by the reaction in the courtroom, it was very emotional for them. I'm just happy for them."

Dotson said he covered his face because -- ironically -- he hoped to avoid abuse from his soon to be fellow regional jail inmates. But the actions described in court reveal a true identity.

Dotson's victims were between the ages of 5 and 11 when the abuse took place. The three thousand year prison sentence will be handed down in the next four to eight weeks.



UPDATE 1/12/12
BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Boone County man has been found guilty of 89 counts of sexual assault.

The jury just returned the guilty verdict against Howard Dotson after deliberating for more than five hours on Thursday.

He was a fugitive for 11 years on charges he sexually assaulted four young girls in the Boone County area of W.Va. The girls were between the ages of five and 11 when the abuse happened.

Dotson faces up to 3,000 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Inside the courtroom, Dotson waved his rights to be present in the courtroom as the verdict was read. Judge Thompson, the prosecutor and defense lawyer say a client waving their rights to be present in the courtroom is a rare occurrence, none of them had ever dealt with before this case.

As Dotson was leaving the courthouse he told WSAZ.com he believes the verdict was wrong.

His sentencing will happen in the next four to eight weeks.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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