Arguing against parole for ‘Jane Doe’ killer
For several years a Blue Earth woman’s mission has been to identify “Jane Doe” buried at Riverside Cemetery.
Now, Deb Anderson must wait to see if 15 minutes she spent on the telephone will keep the man accused in the murder behind bars.
Former state trooper Robert Leroy Nelson confessed to killing the woman in 1980. He is currently serving a life sentence in Texas in connection with sexual misconduct of children.
Since January, he has been eligible for parole.
Tuesday morning Conrith Davis of the Texas Parole Board interviewed Anderson regarding Nelson’s possible release.
“I told him I don’t think Nelson should ever be released. Ever, ever. He’s a monster,” says Anderson.
Given a chance to offer input on Nelson’s parole caught Anderson by surprise. Earlier attempts by her to be placed on a victim’s notification list failed.
Although not a victim, Davis says Anderson falls under the “interested parties” category under Texas law for being interviewed.
“I try to give everyone who wants to input a chance. The more input the better,” says Davis.
While serving his Texas sentence Nelson confessed to killing the female hitchhiker — who was raped, strangled and thrown into a ditch off Interstate 90 near Blue Earth. He received 15 years and served it concurrently to completion.
Anderson says she asked Davis if he was aware Jane Doe was tortured before she was killed. And, she told the parole board official of other crimes he was connected with while in Minnesota.
“I told him how Nelson pulled her fingernails out and that I could send him reports and files if he wanted them,” Anderson says.
It’s expected to take up to eight weeks before Texas officials decide if Nelson should be set free.
Anderson says Davis took notes during their conversation and will put them in Nelson’s file for other parole board members to review.
“If they fully read his file I can’t see that they would let him go,” she says. “I have to hope common sense sets in.”
Anderson was told in most cases a panel of three or four decides if someone should be released. There will be seven deciding whether Nelson is paroled.
Davis is expected to be the first to vote and will then send Nelson’s file to the other parole board members.
“He (Davis) told me he was going to vote not to grant parole,” says Anderson. “I can’t speculate how they will vote. We’ll have to wait and see.”
It takes three “no’ votes, says Davis, to deny Nelson’s release.
Davis couldn’t guarantee Anderson her identity will remain anonymous when her statements are placed in Nelson’s file.
“I’m not very happy about that. I don’t care. I’ll take that risk,” she says. “There are people in this community that are afraid enough for their safety.”
If Nelson is denied parole, he will be eligible again in three years.
Anderson says she’s willing to be interviewed again.
“This will probably go on until he dies. I’ll be doing this for awhile,” adds Anderson.