Arresting Developments Breakthroughs in the Dennehy case

July 27, 2003

When police in Chestertown, Md., arrested former Baylor
basketball player Carlton Dotson late on Monday, and charged him
with the murder of his ex-teammate Patrick Dennehy, a mystery
that had engulfed Baylor and at times captivated the nation at
last showed signs of a resolution. The 21-year-old Dennehy had
been missing since mid-June (SI, July 14), and Dotson had been a
"person of interest" in the investigation ever since an affidavit
implicated him soon afterward. In that document a police
informant alleged that Dotson had admitted shooting Dennehy with
a handgun. At SI's press time The Dallas Morning News was
reporting that Dotson had confessed to the FBI. According to the
Associated Press, however, Dotson said, "I didn't confess to
anything."

Even as the news of Dotson's arrest unfolded--Dennehy's body had
not been recovered and no new details of the alleged murder had
been revealed--Baylor was dealing with less grave, though still
unsettling charges that the program had been guilty of
potentially serious NCAA violations in its relationship with
Dennehy. SI has learned that Jessica De La Rosa, Dennehy's
girlfriend and a hurdler at the University of New Mexico, told
officials at her school of violations by Baylor coaches,
including a large cash payment to Dennehy.

SI learned of the allegations through Dennehy's father, Patrick
Dennehy Sr. He says De La Rosa told New Mexico officials that
last November, while she waited outside, Dennehy emerged from
Baylor basketball offices with between $1,200 and $1,800. She
said Dennehy told her the money came from a coach and was to go
toward the purchase of a car. While SI confirmed De La Rosa spoke
to Lobos officials, she declined to comment. According to Dennehy
Sr. she also said that a member of Baylor's basketball staff paid
a car service to drive her from Waco to a Dallas airport. That
allegation was investigated by New Mexico and reported to the
NCAA. De La Rosa was declared ineligible but will likely be
reinstated if she repays the cost of the trip. Baylor coach Dave
Bliss and his staff denied the allegations through school
spokesperson Scott Stricklin. "This is a difficult time," said
Stricklin, speaking before Dotson's arrest. "[But] anytime we get
a report of this nature we begin an internal inquiry."

Of course these alleged malfeasances are dwarfed by the murder
charges. The worst part about a potential NCAA investigation is
that it could linger and be yet another ugly piece of Baylor's
strange and awful summer of 2003.

COLOR PHOTO: GARY BOGDON (DE LA ROSA) LINKED De La Rosa (inset) and Dennehy met as Lobos athletes. COLOR PHOTO: JAKE SCHOELLKOPF/AP (DENNEHY) [See caption above]

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