Sheffield officer hired as private investigator for murder suspect

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 10:36 PM CST
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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - A Sheffield Police Officer, who was shot twice during October’s officer-involved shooting, was hired as a private investigator by murder suspect, Brian Martin.

It’s a strange twist in the case. According to Sheffield Police Officer Lt. Max Dotson, he was hired as a private investigator nearly a year and a half ago by the very same man who’s accused of shooting him.

Brian Martin is accused of shooting his friend William Mealback Jr. and throwing his body out of his truck on Oct. 1. Investigators say Martin then led police on a chase through Muscle Shoals and opened fire on police, killing Sgt. Nick Risner and hitting Lt. Dotson twice. However, Lt. Dotson’s bulletproof vest saved his life.

According to Dotson, he was cleared to have a second job as a licensed private investigator. He was a private investigator for Martin for three months. However, Lt. Dotson did not provide details on what he was hired for due to confidentiality purposes. He did say it had nothing to do with Martin possibly being followed by someone.

Now with this new information, the question is will this be something that can be used against Dotson in the criminal case?

Martin’s defense attorney Rebecca Green Thomason tells me quote: " In defending my client I’m going to use everything legally available in his defense,” said Thomason.

She also said that it is too early to tell if she’ll enter that in as evidence.

However, legal expert Mark McDaniel who’s been practicing criminal law for 45 years says it’s unlikely that this would have any relevance to the case.

“If the defense lawyer brought it up in some way I know the prosecutor would object and say it’s irrelevant in it’s material. It has nothing to do with the case. This man got shot. The police officer said that he did not know the person he was chasing. So unless they can prove something animus between the two and the defense lawyer can prove that these guys had some kind of falling out or argument or something like that then that’ll be a different story, but I don’t see this having any kind of barring at all,” said McDaniel.

On Oct. 6, Lt. Dotson sued Brian Martin for damages. According to court documents, Lt. Dotson suffered physical harm and mental anguish following the shooting. It is unclear how this will impact both the civil and criminal cases involving Dotson and Martin.

According to court documents, Dotson won his lawsuit against Martin in a default judgment on Nov. 8 after Martin failed to respond in the required 30 days. A hearing has been set to determine damages on Feb. 14 at the Colbert County Courthouse.

The DA’s office said they cannot comment because it is too close to Martin’s preliminary hearing which is in early December.

WAFF 48 also reached out to SBI. They said there is no separate investigation into Dotson being Martin’s PI.

They are only focused on the events surrounding the officer-involved shooting.

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