Wilcox County man sentenced in stabbing death of elderly woman

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal


– A Wilcox County man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for the multiple stabbing death of an elderly woman believed to be the result of a drug deal gone bad.

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Jason Dickerson, 28, expressed remorse before Circuit Judge Tommy Jones sentenced him to life in prison. Dickerson will have an opportunity for parole.

Arbella “Ms. Toot” Portis would have been 62 this year. Authorities allege she sold crack cocaine from her 781 Hwy. 41 South Camden residence.

Dickerson was convicted of murder in September 2006, after jurors heard testimony placing him at the scene of the crime, and of how he woke up on his kitchen floor with blood on his hands and clothes. Pathologists said Portis had been stabbed about 100 times. Assistant District Attorney Jimmy Thomas called the act senseless.

“This case is a classic example of what could happen if a person finds themselves involved in illegal drug activity, whether they’re selling or using,” Thomas said. “The defendant killed the victim as a result of his addiction to drugs.”

Dickerson, who had been on a crack cocaine binge the night of Oct. 11, 2005, when he went to Portis’ home at about 1 a.m. with four counterfeit $5 bills. When Portis reportedly declined to sell Dickerson drugs on credit, Dickerson produced the fake cash. Portis left the room and to retrieve the crack and discovered the funny money was only printed on one side. A struggle ensued.

According to court records, Dickerson planned to snatch the $20 worth of crack and run. However, when Portis returned she came with a knife. Dickerson told authorities he grabbed the knife, but didn’t remember anything that happened after that.

Before he was sentenced, Dickerson told the court he wished he could “give his life” for the life he’d taken. Dickerson asked the court for mercy, stating he had children he wanted to be there for.

Dickerson had one prior conviction. He received a 15-year split sentence in 1998 for robbery second degree. He served three years in prison for the offense, according to court documents.