Teenager accused of fatally shooting father in Le Center

Published 10:04 am Thursday, January 9, 2014

LE CENTER — An 18-year-old man accused of fatally shooting his sleeping father in their rural Minnesota home told investigators he “just snapped” because of the way his father had been treating him, a criminal complaint said.

Jonas Nelson appeared briefly in Le Sueur County District Court on Wednesday. He is charged with second-degree murder, and bail was set at $2 million.

Nelson called 911 on Monday night after his father, Richard Nelson, 47, was shot near Montgomery and said he needed to report a murder, the complaint said.

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Jonas Nelson told investigators he was upstairs in his bedroom when he heard what sounded like a gunshot through a window, then went downstairs and found his father on the floor. Richard Nelson often slept in the living room because it was cold in his bedroom, Jonas Nelson said.

The teen told investigators his father had been “harsh” with religious views, and that things had been “weird” since he moved back in with his father. Nelson’s father and mother were divorced, and he had been living with his mother in Prior Lake until August.

Investigators told Nelson it would be best for him to tell the truth.

“Nelson explained that when he came downstairs to get some water, he saw his dad sleeping on the floor and he doesn’t know for sure why but he went into the gun cabinet and got one of the rifles and then ‘did it to him,’ “ the complaint said.

An investigator found a single gunshot wound to Richard Nelson’s head and what looked like a bullet hole in the corner of a glass patio window. Jonas Nelson told police he shot his father at close range and placed two fired cartridges in a bucket in the basement, the complaint said.

The assistant public defender who represented the teen in court did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday.