After more than a year, Michael Shane Askew, who was accused and charged with Capital Murder, pled guilty before the court Friday morning and will spend life in prison with no chance of parole.
“It is unimaginable. It is unspeakable,” said Judge Dal Williamson in the closing moments of the session as he spoke how Askew murdered 82-year-old Betty Lou Dickerson during the month of February 2020.
“My mother was 82-years-old, and that might seem old to a lot of people, but she wasn’t old in her heart,” said Tina Daughtry-Cole, the eldest daughter of Dickerson. “She was always busy doing things. She worked in her yard, canned, and she was a great artist and painter. She had a lot of plans.”
Judge Williamson asked many questions, making sure Askew understood his constitutional rights before continuing with the guilty plea. Askew, who stated he had a ninth-grade education, proceeded to answer all of the questions to continue the hearing.
“We are here because Mr. Askew sent a letter from the jail asking to enter a plea deal and waive his rights to trial,” said District Attorney Tony Buckley.
“On Monday, February 17, 2020, the victim in the case, Betty Lou Dickerson, was found by her son and a friend of hers who is also friends with her son, who arrived for lunch at her house which was located at 13 Shady Lane, located in Laurel, Mississippi,” said Buckley.
Mrs. Dickerson was found with wounds to her neck on the kitchen floor. They immediately called 911 and the Jones County Sheriff’s Department responded and opened an investigation.
“Through the investigation of Stephen Graeser, they began to canvas the neighborhood, looking for houses with home security camera systems,” added Buckley.
Through Graeser’s and others investigating, they were able to find a nearby house where Askew was spotted on foot.
“Stephen Graeser did a lot of hard legwork, but there was a stroke of good fortune in that Investigator Tonya Madison with the Jones County District Attorney’s Office, at 8:30 that morning of the 17, had an eye appointment at Hattiesburg Eye Clinic that is located in Laurel. When she was there, she noticed an individual that captured her eye by the way he was dressed, and when she took a look at the video, she said ‘my goodness, that appears to be the person I saw at the eye clinic and he was making an appointment,’” stated Buckley.
Askew left his name, address, and phone number at the clinic, and warrants were issued immediately.
“The only thing that was missing from inside the house were her car keys and her car was missing from the driveway,” said Buckley.
Buckley continued that Graeser was able to find other cameras to continue to track Askew, and later, Dickerson’s car was later seen leaving the area.
Askew was apprehended as a suspect by US Marshals in Nashville, Tennessee after he fled Mississippi. The victim’s car was also recovered in Tennessee. Askew waived extradition in Tennessee and was transported back to Jones County.
“I don’t know if you were born a monster, or if you were made into a monster, but you are a monster,” said Cole. “You took a life that you had no right to take. My mother worked hard her entire life.”
“Thank God they found you before you could harm someone else,” continued Cole. “My brother and I have more mercy for you than you had for our mother. We didn’t want the death penalty. We wanted you in prison for the rest of your life so that perhaps you can change your life.”
After the sentence recommendation was made, Judge Williamson asked Askew if there was anything he would like to say.
“I just want to say I am sorry to all of her family. I’m sorry.”