Father charged with murder of local football star Otis Anderson Jr. pleads not guilty

Otis Anderson Sr. appears in court for his arraignment on Jan. 4. (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man accused in the shooting death of his son, former University of Central Florida and University Christian football star Otis Anderson Jr., entered a not guilty plea before a judge Tuesday morning.

Otis Anderson Sr.’s next court date will be Feb. 1. He is charged with murder and attempted murder and faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted.

He is accused of shooting and killing his son during a family argument at his Northside home on Nov. 29. According to reports, the argument stemmed from a dog bite.

Anderson Sr. told detectives he had the right to defend himself when an argument over his son’s girlfriend’s dog led to an altercation at his home, according to court records.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, officers were dispatched to the home in the Forest Trails area on Jacksonville’s Northside where they found Anderson Jr. suffering from a gunshot wound to his chest. Investigators said a second person — identified as Anderson Jr.’s mother, Denise Anderson — was suffering from multiple graze wounds and was hospitalized.

Anderson Jr., 23, died at the scene. Police said his mother was later discharged from the hospital.

RELATED: Former UCF, University Christian football star Otis Anderson Jr. killed in Northside shooting | ‘He loved everybody:’ Otis Anderson Jr.’s impact went beyond football field | Funeral arrangements set for former UCF, University Christian football star Otis Anderson Jr.

Central Florida's Otis Anderson (2) returns a punt for a long touchdown against Pittsburgh during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Denise Anderson told police that her husband, Otis Anderson Sr., was bitten by their son’s girlfriend’s dog. She said that it made Anderson Sr., who was bleeding throughout the house, upset and that when their son, Anderson Jr., came downstairs to see what happened, an argument started.

Denise Anderson told police that Anderson Jr. was told to go back upstairs and that she and Anderson Sr. continued an argument. She said her husband flipped the downstairs recliner, which led to her son coming back downstairs.

According to a less redacted arrest report for Anderson Sr. that News4JAX found Wednesday in Duval County court records, Denise Anderson told investigators that her son and husband got into another argument and looked as though they were going to fight. The report said the “pushing match” was broken up and then Anderson Sr. went into the garage to get a handgun before Anderson Jr. and Anderson Sr. met back inside the kitchen.

According to that report, Denise Anderson heard a “pow” and her son say, “you shot me.” She said she picked up a Swiffer and started hitting Anderson Sr. with it, not realizing she had been grazed herself, the report states.

When he was questioned by JSO downtown, according to the report, Anderson Sr. said his son “charged at him” and he had no recollection of getting into a physical altercation. The report states he also said he had no recollection of shooting at his wife and claimed she must have gotten in between him and their son. He told detectives that Anderson Jr. had never disrespected him before and that if he had to do it all over, he would “take the black eye,” the report states.

Anderson Sr. never said that his son was armed or that he was in fear of his life but repeated several times he had the right to defend himself, the report states.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.