Death Row Inmates

James Conway Ohio Death Row

james conway

James Conway was sentenced to death by the State of Ohio for the murder of a man. According to court documents James Conway would murder the victim with a pick axe. James Conway would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.

Ohio Death Row Inmate List

James Conway 2021 Information

Number A457203

DOB 06/29/1978

Gender Male Race White

Admission Date 10/09/2003

Institution Chillicothe Correctional Institution


James Conway More News

 On Friday, September 14, 2001, Jesse James was shot and wounded near the intersections of Evergreen, Fern Hill, and Palmetto Streets on the west side of Columbus.   James, who was a witness for the defense, said that Dotson was at the scene of the shooting with a “big, fat white guy,” a description that matches Conway.   James said that the “big, fat white guy” had a gun.   Later that evening, Dotson’s mother and his brother picked up Dotson’s car on Evergreen, where it was parked.

{¶ 3} On Saturday, September 15, 2001, two Franklin County detectives went to the home of Dotson’s mother, Lora Eberhard.   Eberhard told the detectives that Dotson was not there but that she was expecting him.   She gave the detectives Dotson’s home address and cell phone number, and they left a business card.   Dotson arrived at Eberhard’s home a few hours later with Jamie Horton and another person in a white Jeep Cherokee.   Eberhard gave Dotson the detectives’ business card, and she left to go to church.   This was the last time Eberhard saw or spoke to Dotson.   One of the last calls from Dotson’s cell phone was made later that evening to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Detective Bureau.

{¶ 4} Under a plea agreement, Mike Arthurs, a co-conspirator of Conway’s, testified that sometime in mid-September 2001, he had attended a party at the Hampton Inn in Chillicothe with Conway, Dotson, Horton, and Shawn Nightingale.   During the party, Conway met secretly with Arthurs and Nightingale in the bathroom of their hotel room and asked them to kill Dotson.   Conway gave no reason for wanting Dotson killed, but Arthurs and Nightingale nevertheless agreed to carry out the murder.

{¶ 5} The group spent the night at the hotel, and the next morning, Conway, Dotson, Arthurs, Nightingale, and Horton met in the hotel parking lot.   Conway and Horton left in Conway’s car.   Arthurs and Nightingale drove to West Virginia in Nightingale’s Jeep Cherokee with Dotson to kill him.

{¶ 6} After they arrived in West Virginia, Arthurs and Nightingale realized that they could not kill Dotson.   Arthurs testified that Dotson wanted drugs, so  the group picked up some pills.   Dotson started taking the pills and subsequently passed out in the back seat of Nightingale’s Jeep.

{¶ 7} Arthurs and Nightingale decided to drive to Columbus.   During the trip, they called Conway to tell him that they could not kill Dotson.   According to Arthurs, Conway told him and Nightingale to “quit being bitches” and instructed them to bring Dotson to a shopping center on the west side of Columbus.

{¶ 8} Dotson was still passed out when Arthurs and Nightingale met Conway and Horton in the shopping center parking lot after dark.   Conway directed Arthurs and Nightingale to follow him to a nearby cornfield on Galloway Road. Once at the cornfield, Conway ordered Arthurs to pull Dotson out of Nightingale’s Jeep and choke him, which Arthurs said he pretended to do.   Conway then had Arthurs and Horton drag Dotson further into the cornfield.   Arthurs said that Dotson was unconscious but still breathing after he was dragged into the cornfield.

{¶ 9} Horton and Nightingale then removed Dotson’s clothes, except for his underwear, and placed them in a plastic bag.   At this point, Conway took a pickax from his truck and walked into the cornfield where Dotson was.   Arthurs could not see Conway but testified that he heard “two thuds.”   After Arthurs heard the thuds, Conway reappeared and removed blood from the pickax by wiping it in the dirt.   Conway broke apart the pickax, placed the metal part of the pickax into the plastic bag containing Dotson’s clothes, and put the handle in his truck.   Horton then removed a bag of lime from Nightingale’s Jeep and poured the lime over Dotson’s body.   The group then left Dotson’s body in the cornfield.

{¶ 10} After leaving the cornfield, Arthurs disposed of Dotson’s clothes and part of the pickax in the trash behind his cousin’s house.   The next morning, Conway, Horton, and Nightingale picked up Arthurs, and they drove to a hardware store.   While there, Conway picked up a spaded shovel and told Arthurs that “it was for the next time.”   Conway later admitted to Arthurs that he had stabbed Dotson twice in the chest with the pickax.

{¶ 11} Thereafter, the group went to the mall, where Conway bought Arthurs new clothes and new shoes.   Conway then took the clothes that Arthurs had worn when Dotson was killed and said that he was going to burn them.

{¶ 12} Ronny Trent, Conway’s cellmate at the Franklin County Corrections Center, also testified against Conway under a plea agreement.   Trent testified that he and Conway had never met prior to their joint incarceration.   Soon after discovering that Trent was a distant cousin, however, Conway began confiding in him.

 {¶ 13} In April 2002, before Conway was charged with Dotson’s murder, Dotson’s mother visited Conway in jail, seeking information about her son’s death.   After telling Trent that Dotson’s mom had just visited him, Conway said, “That stupid bitch actually thinks I’m going to tell her I killed her son.”   Conway later told Trent that he had killed Dotson because he was afraid that Dotson would tell the police that Conway had shot someone “in the butt” at a White Castle restaurant.

{¶ 14} Trent testified that Conway had instructed Arthurs and Nightingale to take Dotson to West Virginia, cause him to overdose on drugs, and dump his body in the hills.   When Arthurs and Nightingale could not kill Dotson, they brought him back to Columbus and met Conway and Horton.   Conway originally told Trent that he had stepped on Dotson’s neck until Dotson died.   Conway later admitted to Trent, however, that he had struck Dotson twice in the chest with a pickax “to be sure that Andrew was dead.”

{¶ 15} Trent also said that Conway hired him to kill Arthurs because Conway feared that Arthurs would tell the police about Dotson’s murder.   Conway paid Trent $5,000 by having the money placed in Trent’s jail account.   However, instead of killing Arthurs, Trent went to the prosecutor and began working as a confidential informant gathering incriminating information on Conway.

{¶ 16} Gary Wilgus, a special agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, was called to an area off Galloway Road in Franklin County on October 10, 2001.   There, Wilgus saw the badly decomposed body of a white male lying in a cornfield.   The body was undressed except for a pair of boxer shorts.   The victim’s left foot was missing, and Wilgus speculated that it had been removed by an animal.   Wilgus noticed a white powder on and around the body, which was later identified as a cement-type material.

{¶ 17} Wilgus took pictures of the body and crime scene.   Because of decomposition, the victim’s face was unrecognizable.   Wilgus attempted to identify the body through fingerprints but was unsuccessful.   The body was later identified as Dotson’s through his dental records.

{¶ 18} Dr. Patrick Fardal, chief forensic pathologist and deputy coroner for Franklin County, determined that Dotson had died as a result of two stab wounds to his chest that pierced his heart and liver.   Both wounds were substantially similar and appeared to have been caused by the same instrument.   Dotson’s wounds were consistent with those that would be inflicted by an instrument such as a pickax.   Fardal also compared Dotson’s wounds with a pickax purchased by Arthurs that was offered into evidence as similar to the pickax used in the murder.   Fardal found that the pickax purchased by Arthurs could have been the type of instrument that caused Dotson’s chest wounds.

 {¶ 19} During the autopsy, Fardal found blood in Dotson’s chest cavity, indicating that he was still alive when he sustained his stab wounds.   No evidence suggested that Dotson was killed by strangulation.   Fardal also noted that when Dotson’s body was discovered, it was partially covered with a “powdered whitish, gray material” that looked like lime or concrete powder.   The toxicology report showed that alcohol and Valium were present in Dotson’s body.

{¶ 20} In June 2002, Conway was indicted on six counts, including one count of aggravated murder.   Count One charged that Conway had purposely and with prior calculation and design caused the death of Dotson, R.C. 2903.01(A), and/or that Conway had purposely caused the death of Dotson during a kidnapping, R.C. 2903.01(B).  Count Two charged Conway with kidnapping.  R.C. 2905.01(A)(2) and (3).   Conway was charged in Count Three with possession of criminal tools, R.C. 2923.24(A);  Count Four, abuse of a corpse, R.C. 2927.01(B);  Count Five, obstruction of justice, R.C. 2921.32(A)(4) and (C)(4);  and Count Six, tampering with evidence, R.C. 2921.12(A)(1).

author avatar

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button