Nelson was a prisoner at Smith unit in Lamesa TX when he was transported to UMC for treatment of internal bleeding caused by swallowing a can opener. He was placed in a room with a prison guard and an armed guard was stationed outside the door. When Nelson complained of the cold he was given a blanket. Under cover of the blanket Nelson used a hidden key to remove his handcuffs. Once freed, he produced the fake gun he had hidden in his jump suit. The guard in the room swung his nightstick at Nelson and missed.
Danny Goeller and his wife Linda were in the room next to Nelson when, according to Mrs. Goeller, he "ran into our room putting a gun to our heads." Nelson then ordered everyone out of the room, including the Goellers and one guard who had drawn his pistol. When everyone one was out except the two hostages he barricaded the door with beds and chairs.
Larry Fitzgerald, spokesman for TDCJ, said Nelson "used his restraints on the women and sexually assaulted them separately." Police negotiator Bill Bates, who contacted Nelson minutes after the hostages were taken, said that Nelson claimed he only wanted "to be transferred to another prison unit" near his family.
Nelson is currently serving 140 years for three burglaries committed between 1993 & 1995, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault of a public servant, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Shortly after midnight Nelson surrendered without incident.
A minor controversy ensued when, at the request of prison officials, Justice of the Peace Bob Blackburn attempted to arraign Nelson inside the Montford Prison unit. Attorneys for the AvalancheJournal newspaper objected to the closed proceedings on the grounds that the practice was illegal under Texas law. Blackburn conceded and Nelson appeared in the courtroom with his wrists and ankles shackled and surrounded by 14 guards. Blackburn set bond at $400,000.
Sources: Avalanche Journal
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