Man pleads guilty to 80-year-old’s murder

A mug shot of Alan Lee Morse. (July 17, 2015)

STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — A man has pleaded guilty to murder in the March shooting death of an 80-year-old man.

Alan “Dale” Nelson was found shot in the head and chest while he was in his bed on March 30.

Alan Nelson was found murdered in his Sidney Township home.
Alan Nelson was found murdered in his Sidney Township home.

“(He was) always great to be around. I enjoyed the time I got spend with him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t more than it was, but I’ll always miss him,” Nelson’s grandson, Lance Alan Cutler, told 24 Hour News 8 on Thursday.

Alan Morse, 48, pleaded guilty Thursday morning to second-degree murder in Nelson’s death.

“There is definitely a sense of relief because you want whoever did that to be brought to justice,” Cutler said.

Elmer Gregory, Nelson’s next-door neighbor, said Nelson was a good friend and sold him his property about 21 years ago.

“We used to be pretty close. It (the murder) happened while I was gone for the winter, so it’s like you never had a chance to say goodbye, something like you didn’t expect and then you come home to this mess,” Gregory said. “Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. He was just a great human being. [I’m] sorry to see it end this way, but hopefully justice has been served.”

Morse told police he had stolen a .22-caliber rifle from one of the four homes he broke into near Nevins Lake on the same night of the murder.

Morse was originally charged with felony murder, three counts of home invasion and firearm charges, but those were dropped as part of the plea. As part of the plea deal, it’s recommended that Morse be sentenced between 26 and 75 years in prison.

“He deserves it, he deserves it. He took a beautiful, beautiful man. I guess everybody knew he was incarcerated, but when’s he gonna get his justice, so consequently I guess he got it today,” Gregory said.

Gregory said the community was rattled by Nelson’s death.

“I never thought it would ever happen close to me or let alone my neighbor. I just felt secure here. It’s hard to believe to come home to something like that. We’re still a pretty very tight-knit community. I have some very wonderful neighbors, but [the community] changed because you don’t think it’s going to happen in your neighborhood,” he said.

However, Gregory still doesn’t understand why any of this happened.

“I don’t know why he had to do what he did. My neighbor would give you the shirt off his back. I don’t know all the circumstances. I don’t think he ever had much of a chance. The guy was in frail health. I mean killing the man was absolutely senseless. I just don’t know. I guess you ask why, but I don’t know. I don’t have a clue why people do what they do,” Gregory said.

Morse previously admitted to Michigan State Police to killing Nelson in his home in Sidney Township, west of Stanton. A judge later ruled that the confession by Morse was obtained illegally and couldn’t be used against him.

A sentencing date for Morse is expected for some time in January.

“God, you know, in my opinion, is the ultimate judge and will make the ultimate determination on what will happen to him after this life,” Nelson’s grandson said.

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