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Navy sailor admits to killing wife with hammer and knife, setting house on fire to kill baby

Police car lights. (Alexandru Cuznetov/Dreamstime/TNS)
July 25, 2022

A Navy sailor confessed to killing his wife with hammer and knife before setting their house on fire in an effort to kill their 13-month old son who was asleep inside, police said. 

According to the New London, Connecticut police department, first responders received reports of a fire on Sherman Street just after 10:30 p.m. on July 20. Upon arrival, the New London Fire Department immediately began work to extinguish the fire and located a female victim and a baby inside the burning home, as well as George Dodson, 23, who was in the backyard.  

The female – later identified as 23-year-old Shelby Dodson, according to The Day – suffered life-threatening injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The baby was rescued and transported to Lawrence and Memorial Hospital for treatment before being moved to Yale New Haven Hospital for additional medical attention. 

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined Ms. Dodson’s death was due to a homicide caused by blunt trauma to her head.

Dodson was ultimately arrested and charged with Murder, Criminal Attempt / Murder, Criminal Attempt / Arson Murder, Arson 1st Degree, Risk of Injury to a Minor, Tampering with Evidence, Reckless Endangerment 1st, and Cruelty to Animals. He was held on $3 million bond. 

Police said Dodson was found kneeling on the grass covered in heavy soot and blood. He had what were apparently self-inflicted injuries. When asked by firefighters if there were any other victims, Dodson said, “My wife, my kid, and my dog,” an arrest warrant affidavit showed, according to The Day. 

Authorities said Dodsonn confessed to killing his wife out of jealousy, saying, “I did this. I killed her.”

“We opened up our relationship and she found another man she loved more and I could not stand the thought of it so I killed her,” Dodson said. 

Police noted that Dodson said he used a knife and hammer to carry out the brutal killing. He also admitted to starting fires in “a couple of places” at his house. 

New London local Mark Battista said he was shocked by the incident. 

“She seemed happy,” Battista said. “It’s terrible. This was someone in our backyard. Never once did it seem like she was crying out for help.”

“The entire event is heartbreaking,” Battista wrote. “I’m glad to have had the opportunity to meet the person that I helped last year and if we learn anything from this terrible event, it should be that life is simply too short and to try and be nice, for we have no idea what one deals with behind closed doors.”