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Thread: Brad Lee Nelson - Arizona Death Row

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    Brad Lee Nelson - Arizona Death Row




    Facts of the Crime:

    Nelson, of Golden Valley, was sentenced to death after being convicted of first-degree murder in the 2006 beating death of Amber Leann Graff, also of Golden Valley.

    Nelson was sentenced to death on December 7, 2009.

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    December 8, 2009

    Golden Valley murderer sentenced to death

    KINGMAN - A Golden Valley man convicted of the brutal murder of his 14-year-old niece was sentenced to death Monday.

    Brad Lee Nelson, 39, was convicted last month of first-degree murder. The charge of child molestation was dropped during the trial. He was charged in the 2006 beating death of Amber Leann Graff, also of Golden Valley.

    After three days of the sentencing phase last week before Superior Court Judge Richard Weiss, the same jury who convicted him unanimously reached their decision late Monday morning. The sentence will be appealed according to state law.

    During the sentencing phase, defense attorneys called witnesses to testify to Nelson's childhood that included parental neglect and sexual abuse. Defense attorneys will also argue a motion for a mistrial Dec. 21, Deputy Mohave County Attorney Victoria Stazio said.

    Amber's beaten body was found June 9, 2006, at a Kingman motel on Andy Devine Avenue. Amber and her younger brother were left in Nelson's care while their mother was in the hospital.

    During the trial, prosecutors argued that Nelson took a rubber mallet and smashed Amber's head in as well as sexually molested her. The morning of the murder, Nelson had gone to a nearby department store to buy a rubber mallet. Shortly after that, he went to get breakfast at a fast food restaurant then took his nephew back to the department store to buy a shirt. His old shirt, along with a sleeping bag, were later found with Amber's blood on it.

    Returning to the motel, Nelson's nephew found his sister's bloody body still in bed. Kingman police officers arrested Nelson, who later confessed to a corrections officer at the jail after his initial appearance in court that he killed his niece. Nelson also wrote a letter to his niece nine months earlier professing his love for her.

    During the trial, defense attorneys did not deny Nelson killed his niece but argued that the murder was not premeditated nor was it a first-degree murder.

    Nelson joins eight other Mohave County convicted murderers who currently sit on death row. The sentence also leaves two county defendants who still face capital murder charges. Ari Benjamin Feinner, 46, of Bullhead City faces execution if he is tried and convicted. Feinner is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the alleged murder of his wife, Veronica Feinner, and her disabled mother, Marie Zavala, in 2007 at their Larkwood Avenue home. Darrell Ketchner also faces the death penalty for the July 4 murder of Ariel Allison, 18, in Kingman.

    http://www.mohavedailynews.com/artic...cal/local2.txt

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    Death penalty upheld in Arizona teen's killing

    The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the conviction and death sentence of a man found guilty of fatally bludgeoning his 14-year-old niece whose semi-nude body was found while her mother was in the hospital.

    Brad Lee Nelson of Golden Valley had appealed his sentence to the court, arguing that he didn't have an impartial trial jury, that the killing wasn't premeditated and that putting him to death would be cruel and unusual punishment.

    The 41-year-old was convicted of first-degree murder in the June 2006 killing of 14-year-old Amber Graff.

    Records show that Nelson was watching Graff and her 13-year-old brother Wade at a hotel in Kingman in western Arizona while their mother was in the hospital being treated for Crohn's disease.

    Prosecutors say that Nelson walked from the hotel to a Kmart, bought a rubber mallet, came back and hit Amber in the head with it multiple times as Wade slept.

    Prosecutors say that after hitting her with the mallet, Nelson covered up her body and soon after spent the morning with Wade going to a couple of stores and hanging out by the pool. When they returned to the hotel room, Nelson told Amber to wake up and pulled the covers from her.

    Her body was blue and naked from the waist down, her forehead was covered in blood, and blood and foam were coming out of her mouth. Semen later found on her groin area matched Nelson, although there was no evidence that Amber was raped.

    The rubber mallet was found in a bloody black sock under the bed.

    Amber's stepfather later gave investigators a letter from Nelson to Amber that proclaimed his love for her and promised to never hurt her.

    Defense attorneys had argued that Nelson didn't mean to kill the girl while the prosecution argued that his trip to Kmart to buy the mallet and his efforts to cover up the crime proved it was premeditated murder.

    In their ruling Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court rejected multiple arguments from Nelson's attorney that sought to have his death sentence overturned, including that the jury's finding that Nelson was eligible for the death penalty because Amber was under the age of 15 is "arbitrary and capricious."

    Under Arizona law, a number of so-called aggravating factors make someone convicted of first-degree murder eligible to be executed, including that the murder victim is under the age of 15. Amber was two months away from turning 15 when she was killed.

    Nelson's attorney, David Goldberg, argued that the state doesn't have a compelling or rational basis to execute someone who kills a child who is 14 years and 10 months old as opposed to someone who has turned 15.

    The court ruled that the Arizona Legislature set the age at 15 after determining that the young are especially vulnerable, should be afforded more protection and that murders of the sort should carry more severe punishments.

    http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/usa...xt|FRONTPAGE|s
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    In today's United States Supreme Court orders, Nelson's petition for writ of certiorari was DENIED.
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    Nelson files another appeal of conviction, sentence

    By JIM SECKLER
    The Mohave Daily News

    KINGMAN — The case of a Golden Valley convicted murderer sentenced to die for the June 2006 murder of his 14-year-old niece in Kingman was back in court Monday.

    Brad Lee Nelson’s appeals attorney, Stephen Duncan, is appealing his client’s conviction based on ineffective counsel. The defense attorney is also seeking funding for a psychiatrist to evaluate Nelson and is asking Superior Court Judge Richard Weiss to release medical records.

    The Arizona Supreme Court upheld Nelson’s conviction and death sentence in April 2012 for the beating death of Amber Leann Graff, also of Golden Valley. Nelson, 43, was convicted in November 2009 of first-degree murder and sentenced to death a month later.

    The state Supreme Court ruled against several defense arguments, including contentions that the murder was not premeditated, that the death penalty was a cruel and unusual punishment and that aggravating factors violated his Constitutional rights

    Graff’s beaten body was found June 9, 2006, at a Kingman motel on Andy Devine Avenue. Graff and her younger brother were left in Nelson’s care while their mother was in the hospital.

    Nelson took a rubber mallet and smashed Graff’s head in as well as sexually molested her. The morning of the murder, Nelson had gone to a nearby department store to buy a rubber mallet. He also took his then-13-year-old nephew back to the department store to buy a shirt. His old shirt and a sleeping bag were found with Graff’s blood on them.

    Returning to the motel, Nelson’s nephew found his sister’s bloody body still in bed. Kingman police officers arrested Nelson, who later confessed to a corrections officer at the jail that he killed his niece.

    During the trial, defense attorneys did not deny Nelson killed his niece but argued that the murder was not premeditated nor was it a first-degree murder, meaning that the death penalty should not have been considered.

    Nelson is one of nine Mohave County convicted murderers who sit on death row. Darrell Ketchner is the county’s latest to be sentenced to death for the July 4, 2009, murder of Ariel Allison, 18, in Kingman.

    http://www.mohavedailynews.com/artic...c950536632.txt

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    Death row inmate wants to end appeals

    KINGMAN — A Golden Valley murderer on death row is asking the courts to put him to death.

    Brad Lee Nelson was convicted and sentenced to die for the June 2006 murder of his 14-year-old niece in Kingman. Nelson is asking to represent himself, withdraw from future post-conviction relief appeals and accept his death sentence.

    In a status hearing Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Richard Weiss ordered Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith and Nelson’s attorney, David Goldberg, to file arguments whether or not Nelson needs to have a mental health exam. The attorneys have until Feb. 20 to respond.

    In April 2012, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld Nelson’s conviction and death sentence for the beating death of Amber Leann Graff, also of Golden Valley. Nelson, 43, was convicted in November 2009 of first-degree murder and sentenced to death a month later.

    The Supreme Court ruled against several defense arguments including that the murder was not premeditated, that the death penalty was a cruel and unusual punishment and that aggravating factors violated his Constitutional rights.

    Graff’s body was found June 9, 2006, at a Kingman motel. Graff and her younger brother were left in Nelson’s care while their mother was in the hospital. Nelson took a rubber mallet and smashed the girl’s head in and sexually molested her.

    The morning of the murder, Nelson had gone to a nearby department store to buy a rubber mallet. He also took his then 13-year-old nephew back to the department store to buy a shirt. His old shirt and a sleeping bag were found with Graff’s blood on them.

    Returning to the motel, Nelson’s nephew found his sister’s bloody body still in bed. Kingman police officers arrested Nelson, who later confessed to a corrections officer at the jail that he killed his niece. During the trial, defense attorneys admitted that Nelson killed his niece but argued that the murder was not premeditated nor was it a first-degree murder.

    http://www.mohavedailynews.com/news/...f646ef60c.html

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    Death Row Inmate Asks To Speed Up Execution

    The Mohave County Superior Court ordered a death row inmate to complete a mental health evaluation before he stops appealing his death sentence.

    Brad Lee Nelson was convicted of the 2006 killing of his 14-year-old niece. He is asking the court to stop the automatic appeals process that accompanies death penalty cases because he wants to accept his death sentence.

    Two other death row inmates have requested the same thing in the past. Dale Hausner, who committed suicide in 2013, was in the process of trying to speed up his execution. Robert Comer was put to death in May of 2007 after giving up his right to an appeal.

    http://kjzz.org/content/94029/death-...peed-execution
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    Deadline to file death penalty appeal extended

    KINGMAN ó The deadline for a convicted murderer to file an appeal has been extended again.

    Brad Lee Nelson, 47, was convicted in November 2009 of first-degree murder and sentenced to death a month later in the death of Amber Leann Graff in Kingman in June 2006. The Arizona Supreme Court upheld Nelsonís conviction and death sentence in April 2012.

    Nelsonís attorney, Harley Kurlander of Tucson, asked Wednesday to extend the deadline to file a Post Conviction Relief appeal. The deadline to file the PCR has been extended numerous times. Kurlander was assigned to the case in May 2016.

    Superior Court Judge Richard Weiss set another status hearing for Oct. 19 and extended the deadline to that date.

    From October 2012 until the end of August, Nelsonís PCR process has cost the county more than $480,814 for attorneys, experts and investigation services. Attorney services alone have cost $300,436. The cost of the appeals process before the PCR stage was $30,220, Indigent Defense Services Director Blake Schritter said.

    Nelson was convicted of murdering Graff, 14, on June 9, 2006, at a Kingman motel. Graff and her younger brother were left in Nelsonís care at the motel while their mother was being treated at a hospital.

    Nelson went to a department store to buy a rubber mallet, which he used to smash the girlís head in, then sexually molested her. He took his then 13-year-old nephew, who was unaware of the murder, back to the department store to buy a shirt. Nelsonís old shirt and a sleeping bag were later found with Graffís blood on them.

    Nelson was charged with the murder after he confessed to killing his niece to a corrections officer at the county jail. During the trial, defense attorneys admitted that Nelson killed his niece but argued that the murder was not premeditated nor was it a first-degree murder.

    http://www.mohavedailynews.com/news/...2ce27f6fd.html

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