Le Sueur Co. teen accused of shooting sleeping dad faces murder charge

  • Article by: PAM LOUWAGIE
  • Star Tribune
  • April 2, 2014 - 8:55 AM

A teen accused of shooting his sleeping father in the head in rural Montgomery in January now faces a charge of first-degree premeditated murder.

A Le Sueur County grand jury indicted Jonas D. Nelson, 18, who was previously charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 47-year-old Richard J. Nelson. The teen called police after the Jan. 6 shooting at a farm house and deputies arrived to find his father on the living room floor.

Prosecutors also filed a notice saying they may present evidence of aggravating factors at trial, leaving open the possibility of arguing for a longer sentence than state guidelines call for if Jonas Nelson is convicted of second-degree murder.

The notice argues that Richard Nelson was particularly vulnerable because he was asleep and that the defendant treated him with “particular cruelty” by choosing to shoot him “in the head at close range with a rifle chambered in one of the most powerful .30 caliber cartridges commonly available, a .300 Remington Ultra Magnum, which caused such a devastating head wound that Richard Joseph Nelson’s friends and family were not able to view his face to pay their final respects.”

According to the original criminal complaint, the defendant at first told authorities that he was in an upstairs bedroom when he heard a gunshot. Upon further questioning, the teen complained about the way his father had been treating him, citing his father’s religious views and saying the man had acted more like a “probation officer,” the charges said. The teen told police he “just snapped” and hadn’t thought of killing his father until that night, the document said.

Pam Louwagie

© 2018 Star Tribune