Man could be charged soon in 80-year-old’s death

Alan Nelson was found murdered in his Sidney Township home.


STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman who lives with the man suspected of killing of 80-year-old Alan ‘Dale’ Nelson said she expects him to be charged soon.

24 Hour News 8 is not naming the 48-year-old suspect or the woman he lives with him because he has not yet been charged in Nelson’s death.

But he has been locked up in the Montcalm County Jail on unrelated charges of burglary and child sexually abusive activity since early April, less than two weeks after Nelson died.

When asked if the suspect had confessed, a woman who lives at the same address as him replied, “He’s done the right thing. He’s accepted responsibility.”

Alan Nelson's home. (March 31, 2015)
(Alan Nelson’s home on March 31, 2015.)

Nelson was killed in his bed on March 29 during an apparent break-in. His home was among four broken into that night on Nevins Lake in Sidney Township, near Stanton. According to the medical examiner, Nelson died from gunshot wounds to the head and chest. Authorities would not say how many times he was shot.

The woman who lives with the suspect said he has been in and out of the system since he was 7 years old and has a problem with alcohol. Records show he has long criminal history and has served time in prison time for break-ins, home invasion and unarmed robbery.

“He does have a history of breaking into vacant homes where there’s nobody there,” the woman told 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday. “Nobody’s hurt and a lot of times it’s not even to steal stuff.”

But the suspect has never served prison time for a violent crime.

“He’s absolutely not the type to kill,” the woman said. “He’s the nicest guy I ever met and there’s not one person that knows him that isn’t shocked by this; completely shocked that he’s even questioned for this because he’s the nicest guy.”

Nevins Lake in Sidney Township. (June 2, 2015)
(Nevins Lake.)

The suspect lives with the woman less than two miles from Nevins Lake. She said police have searched the home.

“He’s a good guy, he really is,” the woman said, adding she couldn’t imagine him hurting someone. “He would never intentionally hurt anybody, never.”

She told 24 Hour News 8 she would like to say more on behalf of the suspect but she knows the people around Nevins Lake are hurting.

Nelson’s daughter told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday that Michigan State Police had arrested someone in the death. Family members said police told them they were confident they had the killer that charges were expected in two to four weeks.

“At least now we can leave our garage doors open for a while,” Nevins Lake resident Terry Sprank said on Tuesday. “We were told (to) keep them shut.”

A neighborhood watch sign near Nevins Lake in Sidney Township. (June 2, 2015)
(A neighborhood watch sign near Nevins Lake.)

Nelson’s death led residents to start a neighborhood crime watch.

“This lake’s pretty peaceful. We don’t have any problems here. When something like this happens here, it kind of shakes us up,” Sprank said.

He said he wants to know more about the suspect and he wants to know why.

“Why this lake? Why Mr. Nelson?” Sprank wondered. “There’s no reason for it.”

MSP officials did not return calls requesting comment and the Montcalm County prosecutor declined to discuss the case on Tuesday.

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