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Boone County high school principal’s punch in throat killed wife, according to affidavit

by Bill Bowden | May 19, 2022 at 6:58 a.m.
Great Seal of Arkansas in a court room in Washington County. Thursday, June 21, 2018,

Police and prosecutors believe Omaha High School Principal Rocky Dodson hit his wife in the neck, crushing tracheal cartilage and causing her death, according to Boone County Circuit Court documents unsealed on Wednesday.

"This affiant believes that Rocky Brian Dodson was the only person present and who had the ability to inflict the blow on Amanda Dodson that caused her death," Investigator Shauna Isbell with the Boone County sheriff's office wrote in a probable-cause affidavit.

Rocky Dodson, 52, is charged with second-degree murder in the March 6 death of Amanda Dodson, 36. His trial is scheduled for the week of Sept. 26 at the Boone County Courthouse in Harrison.

Superintendent Ryan Huff put Dodson on administrative leave after learning of his March 10 arrest. Dodson, who was also the high school boys basketball coach, resigned from the school district at the end of April.

Huff said Amanda Dodson had worked as the principal's secretary at Omaha High School but left that job a year or so ago, before Rocky Dodson became principal in August.

Boone County Circuit Judge John Putman unsealed Dodson's case file this week at the request of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Brown, who had asked that the case be sealed in March while the investigation was still under way.

According to a charging document signed by Brown, "On or about the 6th day of March, 2022, in Boone County, Arkansas the defendant struck a blow to the throat of Amanda Dodson, which resulted in fractured, broken and crushed tracheal cartilage. These injuries resulted in the death of Amanda Dodson."

Citing Arkansas Code Annotated 5-10-103(a)(1), Brown wrote that Rocky Dodson "knowingly caused the death of another person under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life."

Murder in the second degree is a Class A felony. A person convicted of a Class A felony faces a sentence of six to 30 years in prison, according to Arkansas Code Annotated 5-4-401(a)(2).

Rocky Dodson has pleaded innocent and is free on $250,000 bond.

The affidavit unsealed Wednesday provided some additional information about what happened at the Dodsons' home in Omaha, which is 3 miles south of the Missouri state line.

Isbell, who drafted the affidavit, was also the arresting officer, according to another document in the case.

Rocky Dodson called the sheriff's office at 9:01 a.m. on March 6 reporting that his wife was deceased at their home, according to the affidavit.

Isbell arrived to find Amanda Dodson deceased on the floor of the living room area.

"The body displayed severe bruising on the legs, arms and areas of the upper torso," Isbell wrote.

Dodson told Isbell that he had gone to his brother's home and returned to his own house about 5:30 p.m. on March 5, according to the affidavit.

Dodson said his wife was "a chronic alcoholic and was intoxicated that evening," according to the court filing.

"Rocky B. Dodson said that his wife Amanda Dodson had been unable to control her bowel movements during the previous days and had defecated around the house in various spots and had urinated on every piece of furniture in the house," Isbell wrote in the affidavit. "Rocky B. Dodson said on this particular evening when he had arrived home he discovered that Amanda Dodson had defecated on the floor throughout the residence and he got a bucket of soapy water and had cleaned this up as best he could.

"Rocky B. Dodson said he fell asleep that evening in the living room and awoke around 2:30 a.m.," according to the affidavit. "When he awoke he had to let Amanda Dodson into the house. He then helped her to the couch and he then went to bed. The next morning, he awoke and discovered Amanda Dodson deceased on the same couch and he then called 9-1-1."

Rocky Dodson told investigators he had been the only person with his wife for some time and she hadn't left the home in days, according to the affidavit.

Amanda Dodson's body was sent to the state Medical Examiner's office in Little Rock for autopsy.

On March 9, a pathologist in that office contacted Isbell saying Amanda Dodson had "external bruising and hemorrhaging on the front of the neck, severe edema completely through the neck muscles in the area of the Adam's apple as well as fractured, broken and crushed tracheal cartilage," according to the affidavit.

The doctor said the injuries were consistent with "severe blunt force trauma" and would immediately cause severe distress due to lack of air in which the injured might wheeze, cough or gurgle, according to the affidavit.

"The injuries should have been immediately noted by persons that were present," wrote Isbell. "The circumstances of the events described by Rocky Dodson involved no noted distress made by the deceased."

In her conclusion, Isbell wrote, "Rocky Brian Dodson places himself at home at the time Amanda Dodson received the incapacitating injury to her trachea. He denies any knowledge of his wife being injured even though the injury suffered by Amanda Dodson would have been obvious and would have interfered with her breathing."

According to his Facebook page, Rocky Dodson is from Mount Judea in Newton County and graduated from Harding University in 1993. Dodson is a former assistant principal, athletic director and boys basketball and track coach at Cotter High School, according to his Facebook page.

According to her obituary, Amanda Christine (Johnson) Dodson was born in Mountain Home, the daughter of Bill and Chris Rea Johnson.

Print Headline: Death of principal’s wife explained in court filing


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