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Preliminary hearing held for mother accused of drowning child, setting home ablaze

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The mother of a 5-year-old boy she's accused of killing reportedly told detectives she made him stop breathing.

New details about the weeks before and days after the death of Jude Murray-Gomez were revealed during the preliminary hearing for Shannon Dodson.

Firefighters were called to her Hill Park apartment on Murray Boulevard after a report of a fire last November. Jude was rushed to the hospital from the apartment fire along with his mother. An autopsy conducted by the Coroner's Office revealed Jude died from drowning.

The day after the fire, a detective with the Colorado Springs Police Department said she talked with Dodson in the hospital. The detective said she awoke Dodson upon arrival and asked her if she knew why the police were in her rooom.

Detective Deborah Adelbush testified that Dodson's first words were, 'Because I killed my son.'

Dodson was described by the detective as distraught-- crying and emotional.

"She was a wreck," said Adelbush.

Adelbush pushed her for details about the boy's death but said Dodson did not provide any.

Dodson was interviewed again the next day after her release from the hospital for smoke inhalation.

In the second interview, Adelbush said Dodson focused mostly on the custody battle over Jude that she had just lost in October.

Dodson told the detective in that second interview that she felt Jude was being hurt by the custody battle and remembered instances of the child screaming on the phone when he had to stay with his father and grandmother.

Dodson was granted visition rights and was supposed to keep Jude for just a few days. She had refused to return the boy to his father and grandmother. Another detective testified that maintenance man on the property had let two El Paso County Sheriff's Office deputies into Dodson's apartment in the days prior to the fire in an attempt to locate the boy.

Colorado Springs Fire Department investigator Jacob Pulfer also testified Friday. He said the fire started in Jude's bedroom. Firefighters found matches and cooking oil in the room.

Pulfer testified that Jude was hidden from sight between a wall and the bed. When firefighters threw a burning mattress out the window of second story aparment that's when they discovered the boy wrapped in a blanket.

Firefighters said Dodson was found in the closet of the apartment.

Police also looked into the possibility that Dodson warned a family member of her plan. Detective Shawn Peterson testified that he and another detective spoke with two women related to Dodson after the boy's death. One told police that Dodson "made mention of trying to kill Jude and herself" via text message.

That person told police they called Dodson immediately to try and determine how serious the threat was.

According to police, that person implored Dodson to return Jude the boy's father and grandmother.

Testimony against Dodson in the preliminary hearing could lead to a trial if the judge finds enough evidence to move forward on murder, arson and other charges.

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