May 21, 2024

Sep. 18—The lawyer for a Navy sailor accused of bludgeoning his wife to death and setting the couple’s New London home on fire last year — with a 13-month-old son inside — is expected to submit a report in November typically aimed at securing a favorable plea deal or shorter prison sentence.

Public Defender Michael Miller informed New London Superior Court Judge John Newson on Monday that his client, 24-year-old George Dodson, is scheduled to meet again with an evaluator who is in the process of preparing the report.

Miller said the evaluator had already conducted several visits with Dodson and anticipated a preliminary report will be complete by mid-November.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Carney confirmed that the report being prepared is a mitigation document.

Such reports detail so-called mitigating factors, including a defendant’s mental health, substance abuse and family history, that a judge is asked to take into consideration ahead of handing down a period of incarceration.

The reports can be submitted by the defense to prosecutors, usually in cases where a plea deal is sought but no agreement has been reached on the parameters. The report can also be presented to a presiding judge before sentencing.

There was no record of a plea deal offer for Dodson in court documents as of Monday.

Dodson, an active duty sailor, is accused of beating his wife, 23-year-old Shelby Dodson, to death with a hammer on July 21, 2022, inside the couple’s 50 Sherman St. residence.

He is also accused of setting several fires at the home where the couple’s son was still inside. The young boy was rescued, according to a New London Police Department incident report.

Two dogs were also in the home at the time of the fire, fire officials said. Both escaped the blaze.

Police said Dodson confessed to the murder, which he said was done out of jealousy over his wife seeing another man, even though the two had established an open relationship, the incident report states.

Dodson, who is being held on a $3 million bond, is charged with murder, attempt to commit murder, first-degree arson and cruelty to animals.

The two had lived in New London for about two years after a move from Norfolk, Va., where Dodson was assigned to the submarine USS Newport News (SSN-750).

j.penney@theday.com

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