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“I’m asking you a fact, sir, so is it true that you did not receive or retrieve a silver chain with — was it a horse that you described?” Nelson asked prosecution witness Mark Scott, who said Nelson offered to sell him jewelry, then pointed two handguns at his head.
“You know better,” the witness replied.
“Is that a yes or no, sir?” Nelson sharply responded, according to court transcripts.
Hennepin County District Judge Heidi Schellhas found Nelson guilty and sentenced him to nine years for the robberies.
“You are a frightening and disturbing young man,” she told Nelson, according to a court transcript. “The court has no doubt that you are a bright young man, that you could choose a different path than the path you did choose.”
Trail ended at townhouse
Schunk ended her relationship with Nelson last Thanksgiving, but recently reconnected with him and planned to get back $5,000 she had loaned him while they were dating.
Her best friend, Sarah Chacos, wouldn’t elaborate on the plan. “I will say the way they were going to get it back was very dangerous for her,” Chacos said after Schunk disappeared.
Allegations against Nelson and his current girlfriend, Ashley M. Conrade, 24, who is charged with harboring Nelson until his arrest, say he shot Jobi eight times after a fight in the parking lot of Nina’s Grill in Burnsville early Sept. 22. Schunk was there, and Conrade told police the three of them returned to her Rosemount townhouse. That’s where Schunk’s trail ended. Rosemount police say they believe Schunk was killed there that morning.
For nine days, Schunk’s brothers, Tyson and Owen, and volunteers searched for Schunk, trying to hold onto hope that she was hiding in fear of Nelson or his associates.
Tyson Schunk said police told him that his sister’s jacket, covered in blood and punctured by 18 to 20 holes that indicated stab wounds, had been found in St. Paul at the home of Nelson’s ex-wife. A knife was found on the roof of the ex-wife’s apartment building. Police have said nothing about those details. Then Schunk’s body was found Monday in a grassy ditch about 30 miles from Rosemount.
Her disappearance and death resonated with parents and many others who wondered how a young woman who was a competitive chess player, spoke at her high school graduation and was studying sociology at the University of Minnesota could get entangled with a man like Nelson.
“In cases where people in a relationship seem to, figuratively speaking, come from different planets, it’s likely that the ‘opposites-attract’ syndrome is at play,” said Carol Bruess, a professor of family and relationships at the University of St. Thomas. “Asserting independence as a young adult comes in many forms, including choosing a partner who is drastically different from our own personality.”
Osler said Nelson’s and Schunk’s personalities might not have been all that different. Both were intelligent people who took risks.
“His risks were of the kind that tend to hurt other people,” Osler said. “She took risks to help other people. One of those risks played a role in her death.”
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