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Man sentenced to life in prison for Father's Day murder

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

Arletty Clarke called Tyrell Dotson a “monster” at his sentencing, saying that the 34-year-old showed no remorse for shooting and killing her cousin Willmar Santos-Batista last year.

Maria Batista described the damage that losing her son did to her and her family, and her husband, Manuel Sellas, said he’s at a loss to comfort his wife in her grief.

“There’s no words for a mom at 3 in the morning crying for the loss of her son,” Sellas said through a Spanish-speaking translator. “The only thing we have left is the thought that today justice will be served.”

Throughout the hearing Monday, Dotson’s expression changed little. He declined to speak ahead of the sentence sending him to prison for life and then some.

Tyrell Jerome Dotson

Dotson, 34, was convicted at trial in July of first-degree murder along with counts of illegal possession of a firearm, firing a gun into an occupied structure and reckless endangerment.

He shot the 33-year-old Santos-Batista in his car in York City the night of June 20, Father’s Day, in 2021.

Santos-Batista had stopped to talk to Dotson’s former co-defendant, Kimberly Metz, on West Mason Avenue near South West Street. While she walked to his car, Dotson ran up from behind and shot a gun at the car, firing 16 times, prosecutors said.

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Santos-Batista died from multiple gunshot wounds. A bullet from the shooting also pierced the window of a nearby house.

“He took away someone very dear to us, a good guy that didn’t do anything bad to anyone,” Maria Batista told the court through the translator, tears streaming down her face.

She said her son was a good person and a good father who was close with his family.

The loss devastated her granddaughter, Maria Batista said. She described how the 13-year-old girl fell into a deep depression, which led to a personal emergency situation recently.

And Maria Batista said she’s also being treated for depression.

“Everything has been very sad, and all of this has been caused by the death of my son,” she said.

Her husband said he wakes up at nights, hearing her cry to herself.

“I wake up at 3 in the morning just listening to her cry, sobbing, trying to be quiet in bed so she doesn’t wake me up,” Sellas said. “What can a man to say to a mom who has lost her son, to a sister who has lost her brother, to a girl who has lost her dad?”

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Not only was Santos-Batista his stepson, he was also a good friend over the five years since they met, Sellas said.

Yohanna Santos-Batista remembered her brother as a good man, saying she sometimes imagines him as just away on a trip so she doesn’t have to think of him as dead.

“He was and he will continue to be a special person in all our hearts, and we will continue loving him,” Yohanna said, also through the translator.

She said the family still doesn’t know what Dotson’s motive was for the shooting.

Santos-Batista’s family and loved ones filled about two rows of the courtroom gallery, and several sobbed and sniffled during the hearing.

“There is nothing I can do today that will take away the pain that the family is suffering from,” Judge Maria Musti Cook said before ordering the sentence. "This was an absolutely senseless taking of a life.”

The life-without-parole prison term is mandatory for a first-degree murder conviction under Pennsylvania law.

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Kimberly Christine Metz

On top of that, Musti Cook sentenced Dotson to an additional 14½-to-29 years in prison for the other three counts.

She also noted Dotson has a criminal history dating back to 2007, shortly after he became an adult.

Meanwhile, Metz, 32, pleaded no contest to a felony count of hindering apprehension on July 14, a few days before Dotson’s trial began.

She was sentenced Aug. 8 to 15-30 months in jail.

— Reach Aimee Ambrose at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @aimee_TYD.