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Tenn. court denies appeal in Zaevion Dobson case

Three defendants convicted in the killing of a football standout challenged the court’s admission of a YouTube video they uploaded of them rapping.
Christopher Bassett Jr., (L) Kipling Colbert Jr., and Richard Willaims (R) were convicted in...
Christopher Bassett Jr., (L) Kipling Colbert Jr., and Richard Willaims (R) were convicted in the murder of Zaevion Dobson. / Source: (Knox County Sheriff's Office)(WVLT)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 12:47 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Tennessee court has upheld the convictions of three men following an appeal in the Zaevion Dobson murder case.

In December of 2017, Christopher Bassett Jr., Kipling Colbert Jr. and Richard G. Williams were all found guilty in connection to the murder of the 15-year-old football standout. All three were sentenced to over 100 years.

In an appeal filed in May of 2021, the three defendants challenged the court’s admission of a YouTube video they uploaded of them rapping. Prosecutors said that the footage showed gang colors, symbols, and references that indicated an association with the “Bloods gang.” However, the defendants said it was irrelevant and an expression.

Basset challenged the court, saying it improperly denied the motion to suppress his statement to police. Also, Williams and Colbert challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support their convictions, court documents said.

Dobson died in Lonsdale, shielding two friends from random gang-related gunfire on Dec. 17, 2015.

His heroic act touched thousands of people across the country, including praise from former President Barack Obama. His mother, Zenobia Dobson, said the two girls her son gave his life to protect now have their own babies. Lives that may not have happened had her son’s final act on earth been different.

“It makes me proud of him; it gives my heart peace. To know my son, he did all this. His purple heart, he’ll wear it forever,” she said.

Dobson’s name has been spoken all across the country. He was honored posthumously with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2016 ESPY awards. Millions watched during the 2016 Super Bowl as CBS Sports revisited the night of Dobson’s death.

The Zaevion Dobson Memorial Foundation was established in 2016 to “promote and provide recreational and educational facilities for underserved communities.”

“The ultimate sacrifice,” said Zenobia Dobson. “It means the world to me to know that my son stood up for something that is right for the children in the community.”

In 2016, Knox County created “Zaevion Dobson Day” on Jan. 24 in honor of his legacy.

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