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Court documents: Man confesses to shooting half-brother in head, burying in “shallow grave,” after sexually abused

Posted at 11:42 AM, Apr 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-13 11:48:02-04

ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. – A Trowbridge Township man confessed to killing his half-brother and then burying his body in what detectives called a shallow grave in their back yard.

Malcolm "Max" Dotson was charged Monday afternoon with open murder and felony firearms, in connection to the death of his half-brother, Damon Sheldon. Dotson's fiancé watched in tears, seated in the courtroom packed with nearly a dozen supporters of Dotson.

However, court records show Sheldon, the homicide victim, has a criminal past including a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, abuse of a person under the age of 13, back in 1995. Documents and family confirm that Sheldon sexually abused Dotson.

In court, loved ones questioned how much more could Dotson take?

“For them to say that he’s a cold blooded killer and everything like that, I think it was a snap decision," said James Carwile, long-time friend of Dotson. "I don’t think by any means what he did was pre-meditated, or he was wanting to do that. Those decisions were forced upon him and it’s just dog eat dog.”

According to court documents, Dotson confessed to detectives that he shot Sheldon in the head using a 17-caliber rifle. It happened Friday April 10 on the property where they were living, located on the 1100 block of 26th Street in Trowbridge Township.

Police were called to the property Friday due to a large puddle of blood seen inside of a trailer on the property. Family said the boys' mother came to check on their horses on the property, when she saw the blood, and then called police. Shortly after, police found Dotson asleep inside another home on the property, in possession of a 17-caliber rifle.

In an interview with police, Dotson told detectives he was upset with his half-brother that night. Dotson said he was not able to sleep in the same residence on the property with his brother that night; Dotson said he was forced to sleep in the other home that was full of garbage that had no power.

Damon Sheldon, 37, found buried Friday (left). Malcolm

Damon Sheldon, 37, found buried Friday (left). Malcolm "Max" Dotson, 25, (right) suspected of killing and burying his half-brother.

Dotson told police, according to court documents, that he went to the home where his half-brother was staying and shot Sheldon in the head. Dotson said he wrapped Sheldon in a blanket, then dragged him over to a sandy area in their back yard where a hole was already started.

Dotson confessed he buried Sheldon in the hole, along with some stolen property from other, unrelated break-ins. Dotson was also charged with three counts of breaking and entering from January and April of this year.

Dotson's preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 28 at 9 a.m.