Gregg Co. District Attorney Tom Watson talks about the justice delivered to the families of the murder victims

Longview man who killed ‘Lavender Doe’, second victim gets 50 year sentence
Updated: Dec. 16, 2020 at 12:29 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) -- Joseph Burnette pleaded guilty to the murders of two women in a Longview court. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison on Tuesday.

Burnette is accused of the 2006 murder of the then-unidentified woman dubbed ‘Lavender Doe”, who was identified in 2018 as Dana Dodd of Jacksonville. He is also accused of the 2018 killing of Felisha Pearson of Longview.

On Dec. 15, 2020, he pleaded guilty to two murder charges and a sex offender charge. He received three 50-year sentences, which he will serve concurrently.

Pearson was reported missing on July 19, 2018. Her body was found on July 24 at a location off of Birdsong Street in Longview.

Dana Dodd, the identity of Lavender Doe
Dana Dodd, the identity of Lavender Doe

An arrest warrant affidavit showed that Burnette and Pearson lived together, residing at the Contessa Inn.

On Aug. 21, officials said Burnette gave a full confession “which corroborated the facts of the investigation into the death of Felisha Pearson and the murder of a female in Gregg County in 2006.” The woman was dubbed Lavender Doe by law enforcement officials.

The sheriff’s office released the following details about the identity of Dodd’s remains:

On Oct. 29, 2006, deputies with the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call on an oil lease off Fritz Swanson Road north of Texas 31, where two men discovered an unidentified woman’s body. The woman later came to be known as Lavender Doe.

The Lavender Doe Homicide case has been active from the beginning, and investigators never stopped trying to identify Lavender Doe.

Now thanks to the DNA Doe Project and their supporters, investigators have been able to confirm the identity of Lavender Doe as 21-year-old Dana Lynn Dodd, last known to be living in Jacksonville, Florida.

Joseph Wayne Burnette is currently in the Gregg County Jail awaiting trial, charged with the murders of Dana Dodd and Felishia Pearson. Burnette is also charged with Sex Offender Duty to Register, with his bonds totaling $2,500,000.”

Felisha Pearson (Source: Gregg County Sheriff's Office)
Felisha Pearson (Source: Gregg County Sheriff's Office)


+ Unidentified and Dead: ‘Lavender Doe’ is not alone in East Texas

+ Suspect in Felisha Pearson murder indicted in 2006 Lavender Doe murder case

+ Related: DNA leads to identification of Lavender Doe, name not being released

+ Accused Lavender Doe killer has hearing set

+ Indictment: Suspect in Longview murders used rope to strangle victims

Joseph Burnette (Source: Gregg County Sheriff's Office)
Joseph Burnette (Source: Gregg County Sheriff's Office)

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