Jones pleads guilty in Dortch murder

Published 3:56 pm Monday, July 22, 2013

An Atmore man pleaded guilty Monday to felony murder in the June 2012 shooting death of Atmore businessman Kendrick Lamon Dortch.



Damien Deonshay Jones’ guilty plea — which came as attorneys were preparing to select a jury for his trial — also paves the way for Jones to testify against the man who authorities say pulled the trigger in the case, then-16-year-old De’Athony Dailey, Jones’ co-defendant.

Jones was a participant in the robbery of Dortch, authorities said, but did not actually shoot the victim.

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Sandra Gray, Dortch’s aunt who raised him from a young age, said the family is looking forward to finally finding justice for her nephew.
“It’s a good thing,” Gray said of Jones’ decision to plead guilty. “Everything has just seemed idle. Now it’s time for somebody to tell the truth.”

Gray said the guilty plea brings the family one step closer to a sense of peace.

“I’m ready to see some closure,” she said. “We’ve really been missing Kendrick.”

Dortch was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the back and lying in front of his auto detailing business, KLD Enterprises, just before 5 a.m. on June 26, 2012. According to family members, Dortch, who worked full time at Johnson Ford in Atmore, was in the process of remodeling his building on the corner of Ridgeley Street and Second Avenue, located just blocks from Atmore Police Department.

Jones entered a blind plea to felony murder, first-degree robbery and breaking and entering of a vehicle.

District Attorney Steve Billy said Jones will not be sentenced until after Dailey’s trial.

Billy said that his office would likely recommend a lesser sentence for Jones in exchange for his testimony.

Dailey had sought youthful offender status but was denied in December. A date for his trial has not yet been set.