Illinois Man Who Killed His Six Children Dead at 85 Jun 21, 2017 11:42:14 GMT -5
Post by natalie on Jun 21, 2017 11:42:14 GMT -5
Illinois Man Who Killed His Six Children Dead at 85
Kevin Haas, Rockford Register Star
Simon Peter Nelson, 85, convicted of killing his six children, died at 10:10 a.m., Sunday, at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, according to Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards. He had been held in Graham Correctional Center, but was admitted to the hospital five days before his death. The preliminary cause of death was consistent with natural causes.
On January 7, 1978, Simon Peter Nelson murdered his six children, pictured above. Seated with Nelson and his wife, Ann, are (left to right) David, 3, Matthew, 8, and Roseann, 5. Standing are Andrew, 9, Jennifer, 12, and Simon Jr., 10. After he killed the children, he traveled to Milwaukee and attacked his wife before police arrived.
Nelson remained in the news because of his periodic attempts at parole. He was sentenced under Illinois’ old indeterminate sentencing laws and was denied release from prison 18 times since he first became eligible in 1986. Hundreds of Rockford-area residents signed petitions at each of Nelson’s parole attempts urging the Illinois Prisoner Review Board to deny his petition.
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato also attended hearings and objected to Nelson's release. “Nelson was one of Winnebago County’s most brutal killers, and the impact of his terrible crimes continue to haunt the community,” Bruscato said in a news release. “As always, our thoughts remain with the victims’ family and loved ones who continue to mourn the deaths of the Nelson children almost 40 years ago. We as a community will continue to grieve the loss, and hope for continued healing for all who knew and loved those children.”
Retired Rockford police officer Steve Pirages was a young patrol officer in 1978. He was the first officer on the scene and discovered the gruesome murders that had taken place inside Nelson’s Camp Avenue home. “He’s going to have to answer to a higher power for what he did to his children,” he said. “The effect it had on the community was devastating. It affected everybody, and it certainly affected me. I’m an advocate of the death penalty,” he added, “but unfortunately, it was not available at that time. I’m happy that he wasn't paroled. I can’t say that I feel bad.”
Nelson was among a handful of convicted killers from Rockford that drew public attention during their parole attempts. Another, Robert Henry Lower, also died in prison this year. Lower, 78, died Feb. 19. He was serving an indeterminate sentence for abducting and killing Joey Didier, 15, who was on his morning newspaper delivery route.
Register Star reporter Chris Green contributed to this report. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.