Crime

August 12, 2014

Man is charged after threatening fires at courthouse, post office

An East St. Louis man may get his wish to get medication to treat his mental illness after police say he threatened to burn cars parked at the federal courthouse and a nearby post office.

Oliver Dotts, 40, walked into the Melvin Price Federal Building and Courthouse at 750 Missouri Ave. in East St. Louis on July 8 and told Deputy U.S. Marshal Chad Uhl he "wanted to pour gas on cars parked in the federal parking lot next to the building, light them on fire and then pour gas on the post office ... and light that building on fire," according to court documents.

Uhl asked Dotts why he wanted to burn the post office and he replied, "I just don't like those people."

Dotts was charged with conveying a false threat.

He later told Uhl that he wanted to set the fire because he wanted to get help by being put in therapy and get back on his medication.

Dotts noted in federal court documents that he hadn't worked since the early 1990s and made about $50 a day sweeping up at local strip clubs.

U.S. Magistrate Donald Wilkerson ordered Dotts to undergo a psychiatric examination.

In 2005, Dotts was convicted of assaulting a federal agent when he turned himself at the federal courthouse on an outstanding state warrant. During his plea, Dotts' attorney stated that Dotts suffers from bipolar schizophrenic disorder.

Dotts has previous convictions for aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault.

Dotts also faces a felony theft charge in St. Clair County after police said Dotts took an air-conditioning unit owned by the city of East St. Louis.

No trial dates have been set in Dotts' most recent cases.

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