Over the past eight years or so, Tony Dotson has been in the public eye for vastly different reasons: first as the heartsick sibling whose sister had vanished without a trace, then as a man accused and later convicted of acquaintance rape, and now as the newly convicted perpetrator of a murder-for-hire plot against the sex-assault victim. Here are the details about this bizarre stories in photos, video and more.
Nonnie Dotson, Tony's sister, vanished in 2006, but the case is still prominently listed on the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's cold-case pages. Here's the description from that site:
33 year old Nonnie Dotson was last seen by family members the afternoon of November 19, 2006, when she left her brother's residence in Littleon, CO, where she had been visiting. Dotson had no vehicle with her so she either left the residence on foot or was given a ride by a person or person unknown. Dotson had flown into Colorado by commercial airline on November 16, 2006, from San Antonio, Texas, where she was on active duty serving as a nurse with the United States Air Force. She failed to return to active duty as scheduled and the return flight portion of her ticket was never used. She left behind a 16-month-old daughter whom she was raising as a single parent. She was scheduled to discharge from the Air Force in March 2007. She was not known to use any drugs and used alcohol only socially. She was very involved with western/country dancing and frequented western/country dance clubs in Colorado and Texas. She was known to have been involved in on-line dating and dating websites. She has ties to Colorado where she grew up, as well as to San Antonio, Texas area due to her military service and because it is where the father of her child resides. Dotson's family is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts.
As noted above, Tony was the last person to have seen Nonnie before she vanished, but no charges were filed in the case, and he very publicly advocated for the case to be solved, notably in a 2007 interview with CBS4 on the one-year anniversary of Nonnie's disappearance. That footage is encompassed in a clip shared below.
Despite the family's efforts, no breakthroughs were achieved, and Nonnie's case remains open; if you have any information about it, you're encouraged to contact the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
A few years later, Tony made headlines for a very different reason: an arrest for sexual assault and more.
On May 21, 2012, according to Dotson's arrest affidavit, also shared below, investigators were dispatched to an address on Galapago Street. There, a woman told them that she had gone to sleep sometime after 1 p.m., only to be awakened a couple of hours later "by an unknown male who immediately began grabbing and striking her before placing a sheet over her head."
Next, the report says, the man pulled the sheet around the woman's head, constricting her breathing, before tying her hands behind her back and cutting off her sleepwear with a knife. She did what she could to fight back, and even managed to get her hands free for a brief time. But the man responded by throwing her to the ground, slamming her head against the floor and retying her hands, after which he raped her on the bed.
Continue for more about the latest conviction of Tony Dotson, including additional photos, a video and an arrest affidavit. The man never spoke during the attack, and she didn't get a good look at his face; all she saw was black clothing. But a number of clues pointed toward him being an acquaintance rather than a stranger. For one thing, there were no signs of forced entry into her residence. For another, she called for her dog to help and it didn't respond, as if the man was a known quantity.
This line of inquiry proved fruitful a few days later, when a friend of the victims contacted police to suggest that they check out Dotson, who had been among those who had seen the woman at Mezcal bar the evening prior to the attack. He'd been in the company of his fiancee and had left earlier -- but the friend was suspicious, given that he had allegedly "made sexual comments toward [the victim] in the past."
Moreover, Dotson knew where she kept the key to her place, having previously taken care of her dog.
There was plenty of physical evidence in the case, including blood, and Dotson's DNA indicated that he was "included as a possible contributor," in the parlance of investigators. The odds of this happening by coincidence are put at one in 2.5 billion.
For his part, Dotson denied having anything to do with the rape and even suggested that he hadn't believed an assault had taken place, given that "the victim can be dramatic at times." But prosecutors weren't swayed and ultimately charged him with multiple sex assault charges, plus burglary and more.
In 2013, Dotson was convicted, but before he could be sentenced, another shocking revelation emerged: The Denver DA's office charged him of trying to solicit the sex-assault victim's murder while in jail.
An indictment cited by CBS4 notes that he allegedly "approached members of the 8-Tre Gangster Crips, GKI (Gallant Knights Insane) and associates of the 211 Crew, a white supremacist gang," offering cash, a Mercedes-Benz and a $14,000 ring as payment for a successful hit.
Fortunately, no such attempt was made on the woman's life, and now, Dotson has been convicted of murder-for-hire, too. He'd already been sentenced to 96 years to life for the sexual assault. He could get another 16-48 years at his next sentencing, slated for April 20.
Look below to see Dotson's mug shot, his arrest affidavit and a 2013 CBS4 report that includes footage of his interview with the station on the one-year anniversary of Nonnie's disappearance.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.