Murder victim sexually assaulted suspect in ’95

Left to right: Malcolm Dotson and Damon Sheldon.


ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — The man accused of murdering his half-brother and burying him behind a mobile home near Allegan was sexually assaulted by the murder victim in the mid-1990s, court documents show.

Malcolm Dotson, 25, was formally charged Monday with open murder and felony firearm in the death of 37-year-old Damon Francis Sheldon.

According to probable cause documents, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office was called to a property in the 1100 block of 26th Street in Trowbridge Township on Friday after the Sheldon’s mother arrived there and found a large amount of blood in a mobile home.

Authorities found Dotson, who was carrying a .17-caliber rifle, in another residence on the same property.

Police began to search for Sheldon and eventually found his body in a shallow grave behind the trailer.

A detective wrote that Dotson told investigators he was upset with Sheldon because he was forced to sleep in the second residence, which was full of garbage and had no power.

According to the court documents, Dotson told detectives he grabbed his rifle, walked to the mobile home, opened the door and shot his brother in the head. He then allegedly wrapped his brother in a blanket and dragged him to a sandy spot, where there was already a small hole. He buried his brother along with some stolen property from some unrelated break-ins, the court documents said.

A number of people were in court on Monday to show support for Dotson. While none would go on camera, many indicated that Sheldon had been abusive to Dotson in some way.

“There is only so much a person can take,” one unidentified person in the courtroom said.

A 1995 court file shows Sheldon was charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13. The victim in that case was his younger brother, Dotson.

According to the court file, the assault happened between December 1994 and January 1995. The charge was filed in April 1995.

As part of a plea agreement, Sheldon pleaded guilty to one count of attempted second-degree CSC. In return, the original charge of first-degree CSC was dropped.

Sheldon was sentenced to 12 months in jail and 5 years probation. He was also required to undergo sex offender counseling in a “therapy program which includes material on pedophilia” and had to register as a sex offender.

After being released from jail, court records show, Sheldon failed to report to his probation officer and failed to complete the required treatment program.

As part of another plea deal, Sheldon agreed to plead guilty to a parole violation for failing to report to his probation officer. His failure to complete the treatment program was considered as part of the sentence, with the judge noting Sheldon’s “lack of potential for rehabilitation and what would be necessary for the protection of society.”

Sheldon was sentenced to between three and five years in prison for the probation violation. He was ordered to receive sex offender counseling while in prison.

Dotson’s bond was denied during Monday’s court proceedings. Future court dates were set for April 23 and April 28.

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