Thursday, May 27, 2004

Death in Devou Park a mystery

Self-taught tattoo artist shot once in head

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COVINGTON - Life for Vincent "Jaime" Dawson hadn't been easy.

He was sent to prison at age 18 after he was caught with a stolen car. He dropped out of Holmes High School. And he didn't have a job.

But his father says he didn't deserve to die. Not this way.

Dawson, 27, of the 1500 block of Maryland Avenue, was found dead at 9:50 p.m. Tuesday on Montague Road in Devou Park. Covington police are releasing few details, but Dawson's father said his son was shot once in the head.

"We didn't know anything was wrong until police showed up at our door at 11 p.m. last night," said Dawson's father, James Dawson. "My wife is taking it pretty hard."

Dawson lived with his father and mother, Myrtle.

Lt. Col. Mike Kraft, spokesman for Covington police, said someone walking through the park found the body.

James Dawson said police told him Tuesday night that they had no suspects, and they were trying to retrace his son's steps that day.

Police would not say whether they are ruling out suicide.

Dawson's father said he couldn't believe his son would have killed himself.

"He was as happy as he could be the last time I saw him," he said.

James Dawson said his son left the house after 6 p.m. Tuesday and told his mother he was walking across town to see his girlfriend. That's the last time the Dawsons saw their son. His body was found about two miles west of their home.

James Dawson said his son didn't have a job but was a self-taught tattoo artist who sometimes worked out of his home and had at least two tattoos of his own.

"He had enjoyed drawing since he was a little kid," James Dawson said. "I think that is why being a tattoo artist came natural to him."

Dawson first got in trouble with the law shortly after his 18th birthday, in 1994. James Dawson said his son and a 17-year-old boy were caught with a stolen car.

He was convicted in Kenton Circuit Court of receiving stolen property and sent to the Kentucky State Reformatory in LaGrange.

Court records also show he was convicted in Kenton County of escape in 1995 and possession of a controlled substance in 2001, charges Dawson's father said he was unaware his son ever faced.

The date Dawson was released from prison was not immediately available Wednesday.

Anyone who saw Vincent "Jaime" Dawson between 7 and 9:50 p.m. Tuesday is asked to call Covington Police at (859) 292-2222 or Crime Stoppers at (513) 352-3040.


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