Wounded man seeks treatment release
A man wounded in a Dec. 18 shootout with police in Eureka is seeking release from jail for medical treatment and a psychological evaluation.
On Monday, district court Judge Michael Prezeau granted a motion to continue Mark Nelson's arraignment on charges of attempted deliberate homicide and two counts each of assault on a peace officer and assault with a weapon after hearing that Nelson's medical condition would make his presence in court difficult. Prezeau is taking under advisement another motion seeking a psychological evaluation for Nelson.
Nelson, 55, was transferred from a hospital in Kalispell to the Lincoln County jail on Jan. 6. He is still suffering from the after-effects of gunshot wounds, and his physical and mental condition has deteriorated during his stay in the jail, his court-appointed attorney, Ann German, told Prezeau on Monday.
Nelson suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his military service in Vietnam and has a 50-percent disability rating from the Veterans Administration, German said. German said she has spoken with a number of Nelson's acquaintances from across the country over the past two weeks who support the case that his psychological problems are related to his service in Vietnam.
German asked Prezeau to consider releasing Nelson to a family member in Kalispell so he can obtain proper medical care as well as a psychological evaluation. She suggested a Missoula psychologist with expertise in PTSD.
County Attorney Bernie Cassidy agreed that Nelson may be in need of additional medical treatment. Cassidy said he would like to see an evaluation by the psychologist providing assurances that Nelson would not pose a danger before agreeing to his release, however.
Cassidy also noted that Nelson's daughter, who was also involved in the Dec. 18 incident and who is currently undergoing a psychological evaluation of her own, is due to be arraigned in district court next week. He expressed concerns about both Nelson and his daughter being in the jail at the same time.
Prezeau asked German and Cassidy to get together to try to reach an agreement regarding the psychological evaluation. He asked German to provide more specific details on the Missoula psychologist she suggested for the evaluation, including what he would charge and when he could provide the evaluation.
"If he's reasonable and can do it promptly, I can't imagine that I wouldn't grant a motion to appoint him specifically," Prezeau said.
Nelson was shot twice in the thigh and once in the abdomen after firing a shotgun at a Eureka police officer on Dec. 18. He had been arrested earlier in the evening along with his daughter, Jennifer Nelson, 24, and her boyfriend, Christopher Showen, 25, following a disturbance at the Eureka VFW club.
Mark Nelson and Showen were released following their initial arrest, but Jennifer Nelson was kept in custody at the Eureka police station while an ambulance was summoned to transport her to Kalispell for a psychological evaluation. The shooting occurred when Mark Nelson returned to the police station with a shotgun and demanded her release. According to court documents, Nelson pointed the gun at ambulance crew members and fired two rounds at policeman Ian Jeffcock, who returned fire. Jeffcock was not hit, but another officer suffered a minor injury after being struck by a fragment from one of Nelson's shots.
Showen was arrested after he was found in the passenger seat of a car parked nearby with a loaded handgun, shotgun and a hunting rifle. He was charged with conspiracy to commit assault with a weapon along with tampering with evidence for allegedly spitting on blood on the floor of the police station after he was taken into custody.
Jennifer Nelson was charged with two felony counts of assault on a peace officer, one felony count of making a threat in official manners, and a misdemeanor count of assault with bodily fluids stemming from the original incident and her actions after being taken into custody.
All three are being held on $250,000 bond.