By Nigel Boys
It was just another day for 31-year-old New Orleans crime lab technician, Alonia Singleton, as she methodically photographed the scene of yet another murder, but it turned out to be one that she will probably never forget.
As Singleton took pictures of the dozen or so shell casing strewn around the area of the home on the 9th Ward, where the body of a man was found, she noticed something rather familiar about tattoos on the man’s body.
The Times Picayune reports that Singleton said chills went up and down her spine as she started to recognize the man who was found Saturday morning, November 7. She asked detectives at the scene if they could examine one of his tattoos.
The Daily Mail reports that just before he was placed into a body bag, Singleton asked detectives if the man had a tattoo on his chest with the name “Alonia. When she was told that he had that tattoo, she realized the awful truth that the deceased man was a former boyfriend and father of her 8-year-old son.
Singleton then identified the murder victim to detectives as being 31-year-old Jonathan Dotson Sr., according to the New York Daily News. Although she was extremely upset herself, she then had the awful job of going to his mother’s home to inform her of his death.
“I started backing up,” Singleton said Thursday at the Treme funeral home where family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Dotson. “It was like this heavy weight. I kept not believing it.”
Police report that the New Orleans native was gunned down on Saturday around 2 a.m. He was killed near the rear door of a home, still under construction, in the 1200 block of Congress Street, reports Nola.com.
Dotson’s former girlfriend, 28-year-old Megan Thomas, said at his funeral, “Not Jonathan not like that. “Why would someone take this man from the people who love him?”
“I didn’t cry because I really didn’t believe it,” the victim’s mother, Sheila Dotson said. She added that her son and Singleton had met in high school, dated from 2006 to 2009 and they have an 8-year-old son.
Over 50 people attended Dotson’s memorial service at the Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home on Thursday, where he was remembered as a man who could make people laugh and brighten anyone’s day.
Dotson’s current girlfriend, 30-year-old Likera Lee, said “Everybody loved Jonathan.” She added “He brought joy to anybody who ever crossed his path.”
In an ironic twist to his killing, Dotson had recently played a shooting victim in an independent film called “A Quiet Storm,” according to Lee. She added that after working at various restaurants in the French Quarter, he had been trying to find work as an actor.
“It’s a surreal blurring of reality and fiction,” the film’s writer and director Jason Affolder said of Dotson’s death.
Dotson was filmed during “A Quiet Storm” in June at a home in the same block where he was murdered, Affolder continued. He appeared in the film’s opening sequence, along with another actor, exiting a convenience store at Franklin and Villere, he added.
Dotson’s character is killed off when a car pulls up behind them, a passenger leans out the side window and opens fire with an AK-47, Affolder said.
“He was a good person,” Singleton said at Dotson’s memorial service. “He always wanted to get married, but I knew he wasn’t ready.”
“I don’t want retaliation,” Sheila Dotson said. “The person who did it has to deal with that. I love my son and I’ll miss him. He didn’t deserve to die like that.”
Police are asking for anyone with information about Dotson’s death to contact CrimeStoppers at 504-822-1111.