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Shawna Louise NELSON

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Love triangle - Jealousy
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 23, 2007
Date of arrest: July 26, 2007
Date of birth: October 1, 1971
Victim profile: Heather Lynn Garraus (her ex-lover's wife)
Method of murder: Shooting (.40 caliber Glock model 22)
Location: Greeley, Weld County, Colorado, USA
Status: Sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on March 3, 2008
 
 

 
 

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Shawna Nelson Found Guilty In Love-Triangle Slaying

Automatic Sentence Of Life Without Parole Given

TheDenverChannel.com

March 3, 2008

Jurors resumed deliberations Monday morning in Fort Collins and quickly reached a verdict, finding Shawna Nelson guilty of the first-degree murder in the slaying of Heather Garraus.

Nelson was quickly sentenced to life without the possibility of parole -- the mandatory sentence for a first-degree murder conviction.

"You carried out this plan with great deliberation. You deserve to serve every day of the sentence I will impose," said Weld County District Judge Roger Klein.

Nelson displayed no emotion as the guilty verdict was read and declined the judge's invitation to make a statement before he handed down the sentence. Her family, sitting behind her, shook their heads and appeared to be in shock.

"We're disappointed in the result, obviously," said Nelson's attorney, Kevin Strobel. "There will be an appeal."

The jury got the case on Friday and deliberated Friday afternoon without reaching a verdict. It announced it had reached a verdict at 9:45 a.m. Monday. The trial lasted 10 days and it took the jury 5 hours and 45 minutes to reach a unanimous guilty verdict.

Garraus was shot execution style on Jan. 23, 2007. Witnesses said the masked killer, dressed in black, confronted Garraus in the parking lot of the Greeley credit union where Garraus worked and told her, "You ruined my life. Get on the ground."

Garraus replied, "OK, OK" and knelt down, and the killer in a black robe fired two shots from a handgun and fled, witnesses said.

Garraus was the wife of a Greeley police officer Ignacio Garraus, who had an affair and fathered a child with Nelson, a former Weld County dispatcher. Ignacio Garraus broke off the three-year affair a month before the shooting.

Witnesses said the killer yelled, "You ruined my life!" before shooting Garraus.

Nelson's family and attorney said Greeley police rushed to judgment by finger-pointing Nelson.

"I just feel that to me, Shawna was arrested, tried and convicted within 15 minutes of this horrible thing happening," said Nelson's sister, Debbie Smith, who broke down in tears. "I will never in my heart believe that she did this. And I will never quit fighting for her."

Smith said police never looked for any other suspect, but prosecutors disagree.

"If the police focus in on somebody right away, the defense's mantra is: rush to judgment. If the police don't focus in on somebody right away, the defense's mantra is: ladies and gentlemen, the police don't even know who did this," said prosecutor Cliff Riedel.

Prosecutors argued that Shawna was the only person with motive to kill Heather and in a closing statement, asked jurors to give Heather justice. Heather's friends and family felt, with a guilty verdict, justice has been served.

"We are happy. It was the right thing. And we're glad that it's done and over with," said Maria Valdez, Heather's friend.

Ignacio Garraus left the justice center without comment.

"I feel he's just as guilty. I'm sorry to say it, but that's just the way I feel," said one of Shawna's friends.

The amount of evidence against Shawna Nelson was nothing short of overwhelming. Prosecutors put 40-plus witnesses on the stand and introduced 120 exhibits. Defense attorneys put forward two witnesses -- Shawna Nelson and an independent investigator.

Nelson testified that she was on her way to a liquor store at the time of the shooting and that she forgot her shoes because she was in a hurry.

Prosecutors said the shoes worn by the killer were tossed after the slaying. They were found 700 feet from where Nelson's pickup truck was stopped by police. They contained Nelson's DNA and some gunshot residue. In addition, gunshot residue was detected on some of the clothes that Nelson wore. Tire tracks left in the snow by the killer's vehicle also matched those on Nelson's truck.

Nelson's attorney countered that no gunshot residue was found on the red and black mask that Nelson allegedly wore and the gunshot residue on her clothes could have come from a transfer of residue inside the truck that was also used by her husband, a Weld County investigator who frequently handled firearms.

Nelson's husband, Ken Nelson, is also charged in the same case. He's accused of tampering with evidence for allegedly handling the gun that police believe was used to kill Heather Garraus.

Ken Nelson said during the trial that his wife knew how to shoot and load the weapon. He took the stand after the judge assured him his testimony would not be used against him in the tampering case.

Ken Nelson announced last week that he will seek a divorce from Shawna Nelson. He was going to divorce his wife after learning she was having an affair with Ignacio Garraus and was pregnant with Ignacio's child, but Ken Nelson said they reconciled and he agreed to help raise the child, named Christian.

Ken Nelson had resigned from the sheriff's department before his arrest. Ignacio Garraus resigned from the police force a few weeks after his wife was killed.

The trial was moved to nearby Fort Collins in Larimer County because of pretrial publicity and the possibility that jurors might know the witnesses.

While some people say Greeley police had a conflict of interest in this case, prosecutors say investigators handled the case professionally.

"I think this verdict is in no short measure because of the outstanding work they did on this case," Riedel said.

Shawna Nelson's one-time best friend, Michelle Moore, pleaded guilty last week to being an accessory to crime after prosecutors accused her of helping plan the slaying. Moore testified during Nelson's trial that she and Nelson had discussed how to kill Heather Garraus.

The defense tried to discredit Moore by portraying her as Shawna Nelson's spurned lover. Shawna Nelson testified she and Moore had a romantic relationship, but Moore denied it.

Prosecutors wouldn't talk about any evidence in the case, citing two pending trials for Ken Nelson and Moore, but they did say the evidence was complicated.

"It was really a case of trying to narrow their focus and have them focus on the important things that we believed truly showed guilt in this case," said prosecutor Gregory Lammons.

"The Shawna Nelson I know is funny. She's a devoted mother. She loves her children. She has raised three really good children. She's a good sister. She's a good daughter and she's very loyal," said Smith.


Shawna Nelson Trial Blog: Jury Recesses For Weekend

Jury Gets Shawna Nelson Case Just Before 1 PM

TheDenverChannel.com

March 1, 2008

The wife of a former Weld County investigator is on trial in the ambush slaying of the wife of a Greeley police officer. Prosecutors say it was because of a love triangle. Shawna Nelson was having an affair with the victim's husband.

7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from the trial.

Rebuttal from Prosecutor Clifford Riedel

Riedel said the big picture "is sitting right there. Shawna Nelson is the big picture."

"The investigation goes where the evidence leads and the evidence leads right there," he said, pointing to Shawna.

"Counsel says this is tragic ... I agree this is tragic. But what was the defendant's reaction when she was told the victim was Heather?" Riedel asks the jury.

He said instead of adamantly denying that she killed Heather, Shawna just sat there and shrugged her shoulders.

"This case is about greed, but not about monetary greed. This case has nothing to do with money ... Heather Garraus had something that the defendant wanted ... The thing that Heather Garraus had -- was something that you and I, ladies and gentlemen, may think was worthless -- and that's Ignacio Garraus," Riedel said.

He said the jury can "believe the defendant or the rest of the evidence ... because they are diametrically opposed."

"Let's talk about Michelle Moore. If you believe the defendant's version of the events, then you have to believe that the defendant is the best lesbian lover that has ever walked this earth," Reidel said. "If you want to believe the defendant then you have to believe that Michelle Moore is facing 9 years in prison simply because the defendant no longer wanted to be her lesbian lover."

Riedel said, "What are the odds that somebody who wanted to frame the defendant and place DNA on some article of clothing would have chosen shoes? And then what are the odds that the defendant would coincidentally say, 'I'm going to go to the liquor store and I'm not going to wear shoes.' And then what are the odds that the person who wanted to frame the defendant would dump the shoes 700 feet from where the defendant got stopped?"

"Counsel said there was no DNA on the defendant. I don't know how many of you cook? Why do you wear an apron? So you don't get anything on your clothes. She was wearing a robe," Riedel said. "There wasn't anything on the mask because the victim was on the ground looking up. Everything went the other way. If there was anything, (DNA) it was on the robe and that's what the defendant got rid of."

"Remember, the defendant had gunshot residue all over her. Her face, hands and clothing even on one of her shoes. And why didn't she have shoes? Because she saw her husband approaching and she rolled down the window and the left shoe went out. Her right foot was still on the pedal. Then the right shoe went out."

Riedel said the tire tracks in back of the credit union matched the lugs of that tire, down to the point where there was a rock.

"That's the F-250 that was in that alley," he said.

Two witnesses saw the defendant get in it and drive away.

"The defense wants you to believe that a non-working brake light is a reasonable doubt. Well, was it blocked by a Dumpster, or something else? That's not reasonable doubt," Riedel said.

He said the ballistics showed that it was Glock pistol KDN-907. Only that gun fired those casings (found at the crime scene.) Only two people had that gun, he said -- Ken Nelson and Shawna Nelson. Ken was at work.

Shawna had said earlier she sold a Glock 22 in front of a pawn shop in Loveland because she needed the cash.

"She lied and told Ken, 'I got rid of it,'" Riedel said. "She didn't. She told Michelle she didn't."

"Did Ken make a mistake and take the gun from the truck and try to hide it? Possibly," he said.

He said video from the Subway sandwich shop shows that earlier in the day, Shawna was wearing blue striped pants and white shoes. At 6:15 she's dressed in black and not wearing shoes ... and wearing Ken Nelson's underwear.

"Ladies and gentlemen, if you had at 5:30 in the evening gone in to take a bath... and filled up the bathtub, then defecated on yourself at 5:30, would you really wait around 'til 6:00 at night, 6;05, not get in the tub, and then decide, 'I think I'll put on my husband's underwear and go get a bottle of wine or beer," Riedel said.

He argued that even that story changed. She told one investigator she wanted beer, and told another she wanted wine.

"She couldn't keep that story straight," Riedel said.

"But would you really not get in the tub after you defecated on yourself, for over 30 minutes but decide, 'I think I'll go to the liquor store in this condition and then I'll get in the tub. Does that make any sense to anybody?" Riedel asked the jury.

"She filled the tub with water because she she knew she was going to be coming back in a rush and what was the plan? I'm going back to the house and I'm in the tub and any trace evidence is washed away down the drain. That's why that tub was filled," he said.

"There was only one person behind the grim reaper mask who had a motive, who hated Heather Garraus so much she wanted her dead, who told Morrison she would pretend the shooting range target was Heather. Only one person planned it. And only one person's DNA was on the mask -- that was Shawna's."

"This case is not about infidelity. The defendant is not on trial for being unfaithful to Ken. Ignacio is not on trial for being unfaithful to Heather. This case is about fidelity. Heather was faithful to a husband who did nothing but cheat on her," Riedel said.

The defendant was a messenger of death to the marriage of Ignacio and Heather. She was a messenger of death because she felt she had no other options, Riedel said.

"Heather Garraus was executed because she was faithful," he argued.

"When Heather Garraus was on her knees looking up into that mask with the grim reaper, she knew who was behind the mask. The evidence shows Heather Garraus thought she would be killed by the defendant. The evidence shows that Heather Garraus was right," he said.

"Let Heather know that justice has been done," he told the jury.

Kevin Strobel begins his closing.

Strobel said Shawna Nelson is not guilty. She didn't have a gun, had no reason to shoot Heather Garraus. He said the evidence shows she didn't do it.

This was not an overnight fling. It lasted three and a half years. "Did she do everything she could to get Ignacio to divorce Heather? No," Strobel said. "Even when she got pregnant a second time she didn't use that against Heather."

"Mr. Garraus wanted an abortion and she said, 'No, I'm not doing it. It took too much out of me the last time.' She told Ken about it and they reunite," Strobel said.

It doesn't make sense but she's explained the relationship and said things that are embarassing, Strobel said.

"Yes, she's told lies but you were able to see her answers to my questions and the prosecution's. Her testimony fits and makes sense," Strobel said.

They want you to believe she made a series of phone calls to see if Heather was at work on Jan. 22. "You can see, she went right over to Heather's line," he said.

Strobel said the last thing Ken Nelson would do is destroy evidence. "The gun was in his posession and he gave it to investigators before he came into contact with Shawna," Strobel said.

He showed pictures of a truck covered with snow on the toolbox. He said prosecutors have questioned why Shawna would go out in the snow and cold without shoes.

He said, "Look at the picture. There's no snow and ice."

One witness had testified she saw one brake light come on. She wanted to see the license plate. She wanted to see what was going on with this truck. She saw only one brake light.

"The Nelson truck doesn't have a malfunctioning light. They work," Strobel said.

The direction of travel doesn't jive with prosecution's theory, he argued. The better way would have been to turn left to 11th then up to Hwy 34. The problem with other routes is it doesn't give them enough time to get most of the way to her house before she is stopped.

"Shawna Nelson's DNA is not on evidence at scene," Strobel said. "Someone has just come up to Heather Garraus put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. There was blood everywhere. There would have been blood on that gun. There would have been Heather's hair."

He said the shooter went back to pickup truck and there would have been blood on the handle of the truck. The gun would have had to go somewhere. He said not one item of Shawna's clothing has Heather's blood on it. There is not a single hair of Heather Garraus anywhere inside Shawna's truck.

"Their burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt," Strobel said.

What is the lack of evidence? It's lack of DNA, lack of a murder weapon in Shawna's possession. Most important, lack of independent police investigation. He argued that Greeley police had a clear conflict of interest yet they were the ones who did the investigation.

People interviewed, who had knowlege of the relationships, were members of the department.

"They reached a conclusion that Shawna was guilty and didn't even investigate anyone else," Strobel said. "They didn't check out a lot of things. I don't know who killed Heather Garraus. There's a lot of people they didn't investigate."

"Did Ignacio have a motive to get rid of Heather? I don't know, it wasn't investigated. Did Ken Nelson have motive? I don't know, they didn't investigate. Did Michelle Moore have reason to get back at Shawna? I think so. They didn't investigate," he said.

He argued that taking a position four minutes into the case is not an independent investigation. "That's advocacy," he said.

We don't know that the cartridges found at the scene were fired from the gun or were dropped there, he said.

He puts up a picture of the gun on screen. He said witnesses described the weapon as having 8 to 10 inch barrel. He said the barrel on this gun is nowhere near that. He said the evidence "has to dispel any reasonable doubt that you may have."

"For one of you the doubt may come from lack of DNA. For another, that Shawna Nelson did not have a gun. The law says you have a reasonable doubt, you don't go ahead. You hesitate," he said. "It's not enough to say, 'I think she's guilty. The evidence must take you beyond any reasonble doubt and the evidence in this case doesn't do that."

Certainly, there are things that are sympathetic. That Victoria is without a mother. It's had an impact on Shawna. She hasn't been able to be with her children, he argued.

"Michelle Moore started out trying to dig herself a hole and wanting to be protected from that ... and she ended up digging herself a grave," he said. "She lied to investigators and she lied to you. Her story grows and grows and becomes utterly fantastic ... to the point where she claims Shawna said she was going to inject cyanide into Heather's neck."

"Her story does not fit. It is not the truth. You cannot rely on her testimony," he said.

"There is the tire track. I cannot tell you how that tire track got behind this building. They cannot tell you when those tire tracks got there. It's speculation that the truck shown in the ATM video is the Nelson's truck," he said.

Speaking about the shoes found 700 feet from where Nelson's truck was stopped, Strobel said, "I don't know who those shoes belong to. If those shoes belong to Shawna, they're men's shoes size 10. She wear women's size 8."

What about the mask found in her truck?

"Yes, Shawna Nelson owns a mask. She owns this mask. But don't you think there would be gunshot residue and blood spray on that mask? There is not," Strobel said.

"Gun shot residue doesn't mean anything in this case. Ken Nelson used it day in and day out. He went out to the range, he went hunting. That vehicle could be full of gunshot residue. She was put in a squad car without having her hands bagged. She could have got it there," Strobel said.

He said the prosecutors argued that she had motive because of the break up, because of her text messages which threatened to make Ignacio pay.

"That seems to be the crux of their case. Does that show a plan for first-degree murder, saying, 'I'm going to take you for child support?'"

"It's human nature to go through break up after 3 and a half years. She had given birth to her child. What pissed her off the most is that he didn't want to have anything to do with his child. But to say so much that she wanted to Kill Heather, that's too much," Strobel said.

On Jan 23, the day of the shooting, Shawna Nelson was moving on, he argued. She saw Ignacio Garraus and his daughter outside the store and she told her children don't talk to them.

"We do have this relationship ... this drama ... so there's an assumption that she did it," he said.

Over 100 exhibits, but you have to step back and look at the bigger picture.

"Does this evidence prove that Nelson is the one who committed this crime beyond a reasonable doubt? If there is anything that does cause you to hesitate, you're sworn duty is to find Shawna Nelson not guilty," he said.

Closing arguments begin.

Prosecutor Gregory Lammons: What's the motive in this case? It's one of the oldest in the world. Jealousy. Blood and jealously. Who was jealous of Heather Garrous? Who was in love with Ignacio Garrous? One person, the defendant.

You've seen the texts, the e-mails. You've heard from numerous witnesses. Consider her motive, consider her credibility.

"The defendant got on the stand and esentially contradicted every other witness. It's incredible," Lammons said.

You heard from Jennifer Morrison who said Shawna would pretend her target at the shooting range was Heather. You saw Paige Walker tell you she heard the defendant say Heather Garraus had ruined her life, that she wasn't having sex with Ken anymore?

"What ax do these two witnesses have to grind?" Lammons asked.

Ms. Tuma recited the nasty things Shawna said. "Bi***." She also said she was going to make Ignacio's life a living hell. She said, 'I don't know what I have to live for.'"

"Compare all those witnesses to the defendant. She hadn't moved on. She was desperate to cling to Ignacio Garraus," Lammons said.

You heard Shawna say she'd have enough of this drama.

Lammons said that when she learned Heather had left home, after learning about the affair, she thought, "Here's my chance."

"What does she do? she calls the credit union," he said.

On Dec. 18, she learns the affair is over, that Ig is going to reconcile with Heather. What does she do? She sends an unblocked cell phone call to Ig saying, "You're going to pay."

The defense rests at 9:27 a.m.

Prosecution says they want an hour for closing arguments. Defense says they also want an hour.

Judge goes over instructions.

Marilynn Cullison takes the stand.

She's an investigator.

She told jurors she went to the Glock Web site to learn about and compare model 22 and model 27. She said 22 had slightly longer barrel and weighed 3.17 ounces more.

Cullison said she did a timeline on two routes between the credit union and Shawna's house.

Public defender put a map showing a main street in Windsor on the overhead. She said one route was faster -- 18 minutes, 20 seconds. The other was 21 minutes.

She'd earlier testified that she tried to interview eyewitnesses to the murder, but they didn't want to talk. Right?

"Yes," she said.

Prosecutor said they didn't want to talk to you because you told them you represented the woman they believed blew their friend's brains out?

"I guess so," she said.

Prosecutor showed Cullison the gun and talked about the length. She said it was 1.26 inches. Prosecutor held up a gun and said witnesses wouldn't be able to tell the difference would they?

"No," she said.

Prosecution cross-examines Shawna Nelson.

Jurors enter at 8:38 a.m.

Prosecutors ask about Shawna's communication with another man who'd asked her to set him up with Michelle Moore. Shawna said she told Mr. Sherbert about her affair with Ignacio Garraus, and her child named Christian. She's asked if she was embarrassed to share this info with someone she hardly knew. She said she'd been drinking.

She was asked if she remembered Steve Sherbert asking how she could leave a double life and her saying "because I'm a really good liar."

She said she didn't remember saying that.

She was asked if she remembered telling Sherbert she couldn't stand having sex with Ken.

"You testified that you enjoyed shooting handguns with Ken?"

"That was a long time ago before the kids were born," she said.

She said she never got a receipt for selling a gun to a guy in Loveland. She had intended to pawn it but sold it to a guy whose name she didn't know. She said didn't know if the guy was a felon and intended to rob a bank with it.

"What's more embarrassing: having your name listed in a pawn sheet or having your husband's gun used in a robbery?" Lammons asked.

"Objection!" the defense said.

Motioned is sustained. She does not answer.

Next, he asked about a retirement party where she confronted Michelle Bush.

"Despite being pregnant, you were drinking?"

Yes, she answered.

"You were jealous of Michelle Bush because she had left with Ignacio Garraus?" Lammons asked.

"I wasn't jealous of her. I thought she was intentionally disrespecting me," said.

Lammons asks about a phone conversation Shawna had with her sister, Deb Smith.

In June 2007, did you say, "We never had sexual contact when talking about Michelle Moore?"

"Yes, I did," Shawna said.

"Did you tell the truth to your sister?"

"No, I didn't," she said.

"Did you remember telling her that your marriage to Ken was a huge frickin' sham too?"

Yes, she answered.

You've been able to read witness statements and look at photographs?

"Yes. Not all at once," she said.

He said she's been able to watch all these people testify. Lammons asked if she heard Yvonne Woods testify that DNA found was unique to every one except identical twins? Yes.

"You don't have an identical twin?" Lammons asked.

"Not that I'm aware of," she said.

Lammons asked about the night she was stopped and Detective Tharp said, "We all know about the history here. And you said, "Oh, I know it doesn't look good."

Lammons asked about her testimony that she wanted Ignacio to reconcile with Heather, then showed her the cell phone picture of Christian with the text underneath saying Ig's flesh and blood.

"Was that your attempt to help them reconcile?" he asked.

"No, that was a dig," she said.

Heather had never done anything to you had she?

No, Shawna answered.

"When you talked about her being vanilla and fat, was that your attempt to get them to reconcile?"

"No, I was drunk," Shawna said.

Public defender asked Shawna if there has been drama between Nelson and the Garraus'. She said yes.

He asked if Shawna ever had the desire to kill Heather Garraus over that drama. She said no. He asked if she ever wanted to shoot Heather in the head. She said "never."


Nelson Trial Blog: Shawna Takes Stand With Explosive Testimony

Shawna Nelson Admits To Lesbian Affair, Says She Wanted Garraus To Stay With Wife

7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from the trial.

TheDenverChannel.com

February 29, 2008

Shawna explains why she wasn't wearing shoes when she was stopped.

She said she had a headache that night so she offered Dillon, her son, $5 to watch his siblings. He wanted to do it the basement because there were games down there, she said.

She went to the bathroom and started drawing water for a bath when she decided to go to the liquor store to buy some wine, she said. She said she didn't have any pants on because she had had an accident.

"I was taking diet pills and it kind of gives you diarrhea and I had an accident," she explained.

So she said she grabbed dirty clothes in the hamper and dressed in those clothes. She had intended to put on shoes. She had a cell phone, grabbed keys to the truck and went to get shoes from the mudroom when she realized she had left the shoes in the closet. She remembered she had already locked the bedroom door and was in a hurry so she just left, she said. She didn't take her purse. She forgot it.

Once she was in front of the liquor store, she said she was in a daze. She had no specific memory of leaving the house.

She got a phone call from Ken, realized she didn't have her purse and then headed back home. That's when she was stopped by Ken and Kell.

"Ken jumped in front of the truck and he looked very angry," Shawna said. "I rolled down the passenger side window and said, 'What's going on?' He said, 'What have you done?' I said, 'What are you talking about?'"

"He was yelling at me, asking me, 'Where are the kids?' I said, 'At home,' and he took off," Shawna said.

She said after Ken left, Det. Tharp and Det. Prill arrived.

"They said there had been a shooting and they wanted to talk to me," she said.

They handcuffed Shawna and she said she told them they were making a scene, and that she didn't understand.

The public defender asked, "Did you have anything to do with the death of Heather Garraus?" Shawna responded, "No. I didn't."

The public defender then asked, "Did you shoot her?"

Shawna responded, "No."

Defense said no further questions. The prosecution will cross-examine her on Friday. The judge tells attorneys to be prepared to give closing statements on Friday.

Murder suspect Shawna Nelson takes the stand.

Nelson said she has lived her entire life in Greeley. Began work as a dispatcher in 1992. She was previously married to Chris McKay and divorced him in 1995.

She knew Michelle Bush because they started the same day as dispatchers. She said she socialized with her at work, but not outside work. She said a rift developed between her and Bush. She believed Bush was having an affair with her first husband.

"Chris' actions toward me were like those of someone who was cheating with her," Shawna said.

She admits there was animosity there.

Shawna later married Ken Nelson in Aug. 1996. She started to cry when asked about children. She said Dillon will turn 10 in May. Jordan will be 8 in April.

She said she met Ignacio Garraus almost immediately after a dispatch communications merger between Greeley and Weld County. She said in spring of 2004, they started flirting. He was in his car, she was in dispatch.

"He gave me more attention. I gave it to him back," she said.

Their relationship became intimate in July of 2004.

She also developed a friendship with Michelle Moore in August 2004. Michelle was a Weld County deputy. It became more than friendship.

"Did it become intimate?" Defense asked.

"Yes," Shawna said.

Why did she keep the relationship secret, she was asked.

"None of this is stuff I'm very proud of. It's kind embarassing. Both of us decided we weren't going to tell anybody," Shawna said.

"Did you keep this relationship from your husband?" defense asked.

"Yes," she said.

"Did you keep it from Ignacio Garraus?"

"Yes," she said.

Was Michelle Moore involved in another relationship?

"No, her boyfriend died in a plane crash," Shawna said.

She was between boyfriends, Shawna said. Did she have another male partner?

"She'd had several," Shawna said.

Shawna talked about going to a retirement party for another officer. She broke down as she recalled learning that she was pregnant the first time. She wanted to talk to Ignacio about it, but he completely disregarded her. She was angry. She decided to confront Michelle Bush at the party.

"My intentions weren't to kick her ass," Shawna said.

"Did you say that?" defense asked.

"I was very drunk that night. Everybody says I said that," Shawna said. "After that night I never had physical or verbal contact with Michelle Bush again."

She said she was still angry at Ignacio. She saw him at a party, told him she was upset with his behavior, said she thought they had plans to talk and didn't appreciate being disrespected. She told him about her pregnancy.

"Almost the first thing out of Ig's mouth was, 'We need to take care of this,'" she said.

"Did you discuss an abortion?"

"Yes, we did," she said.

"Did you wish to have one?

"No," she said. "I kind of always told myself that it would never be an option for me. Ig talked me into having an abortion."

Her abortion was performed at Planned Parenthood in Fort Collins.

She said she felt humiliated.

"It still haunts me," she said.

She said her affair still continued after that.

"He (Ig) told me that the wife of another officer had come into the credit union and told Heather about what happened at the Old Chicago. I called Heather at work. I told her that Ig and I were just friends and that I would never let something like that happen. I never told her about my relationship with Ignacio," she said.

Ken Nelson became aware of the affair. She said her journal was left, not intentionally, in a place where Ken read it.

"Ken told me to make a choice. I told him I wanted our relationship to work. I did not cease my relationship with Ignacio," Shawna said. "I never told Ken. He learned when I moved out at the end of January."

When Ignacio Garraus had gone to Disney World with his family, she sent Ig "a quick text saying, 'If you're up later, call me... signed Omar."

Omar was a name Ignacio had programmed into his cell phone for Heather's number.

When the Garraus' came home after Christmas, "I drove by their house and saw their car, so I called, but he wouldn't answer," she said.

She said she kept trying to get a hold of Ig. He had changed his phone number. One day, he answered at work and gave me his new cell phone number.

"Did you begin your relationship again (with Ig)?"

"I didn't know what was going to happen. When I took the kids to Ken's house, Ig texted me, 'Do you want me to call you?' I said, 'No, come pick me up.'"

On July 4, she found out she was pregnant and that Ig wanted her to have another abortion.

"I wouldn't do it. I didn't expect anything of Ken, but I wanted to give Ken a heads-up because it was embarassing. I told him I wouldn't have an abortion," Shawna said. "Ken and I actually got back together that night."

But she still maintained her affair with Garraus. She agreed to meet Ig outside of Greeley.

"Ig said he had to sell his father's property. He asked me to come stay near the airport before he flew out," she said.

Christian was born March 2006.

"I felt if he wanted contact with Christian he should have it," she said.

She said she was adopted and felt that "no child should be denied contact with their birth parent." She said Ken would be listed as the father, but Ignacio would be allowed contact.

She said that when the baby was born, Ken respectfully left the hospital briefly so Ig could come visit.

She said she and Ken enjoyed shooting at the range but that she had never imagined Heather's face on a target. She said the last time she went to a range, it was an archery range two years ago. Because money was tight, she said she pawned a gun so she'd have cash to take to Grand Lake, to meet with Ignacio.

She said she admitted sending a text message to Heather's phone which said, "If you're reading this U r a psycho bi***."

"Why?" the defense asked.

"Because I thought if she knew I knew her cell phone number she would leave me alone," Shawna said.

She said Heather called her and said, 'So you think I'm a psycho bi***? I'd like to see you say that to my face." She said Heather then hung up.

She said she and Ignacio had both discussed being unhappy in their marriages. She said she actually encouraged Ignacio to work things out with Heather.

She said she went to the credit union Dec. 18 and closed her account because "I knew what was going on at the Garraus' house and I didn't want to have a confrontation with her."

"The phone call lasted about a minute and a half, but the silence went on forever," Nelson said. What was your reaction? She said I'd been thinking our relationship would end.

She said she got a call from Ignacio on Dec. 16, saying he wanted to break things off.

She said she wanted to give him an opportunity to change his mind, so she texted him and tried to call him.

"I was trying to reiterate the fact that Ig didn't want to have anything to do with Christian. In my mind I couldn't see that somebody wouldn't want to have anyting to do with their son. I think I was trying to give him another chance to change his mind on that," she said.

The public defender asked Shawna if she'd met Julian Garraus before. That's Ignacio's dad. She said Julian was aware of Shawna and Ig's relationship and was aware of Christian. He loved Christian and still wanted to have something to do with Christian.

"I specifically called Julian and told him what Ig's message had said. He said, 'Ig does not speak for me. I want you to freely call me whenever you want. I want to know how Christian is doing. I want to see pictures of him,'" Nelson said.

Shawna said she told Ken she wanted to get away so he gave her a rifle and pistol and told her to pawn it so she could buy a plane ticket. She said Ken inherited money (more than $7,000) from his grandmother, but that he didn't have it when she pawned the guns.

She said she pawned the weapons at King Pawn in Greeley because she didn't work in dispatch anymore and it didn't matter if anyone recognized her.

Shawna said portions of the Walkers' (Paige & Sonja) testimony is incorrect. She said she never told Paige about any kind of sexual relationship with Ignacio. She said she talked about it with Sonja (Paige's mother) while Paige was there. She also said Paige did help print pictures of Christian to send to Julian.

Shawna was asked about the mask. She said she's had it since Halloween 2006, that Michelle saw it, and that she intended to use it to scare the kids, but thought maybe it was too scary.

Contrary to what husband Ken testified, Shawna said the mask was out in his pickup in the entire time. She said they fought over the kids' toys and trash that had been piling up in Ken's truck and that Ken had picked it up and asked her what she wanted to do with it. She told him to just leave it there.

Shawna admits to having a nun robe the year she was pregnant with Christian, but that she never kept stuff like that.

After that, the public defender opened the sealed bag containing the sweater Shawna was wearing the night she was arrested. She tried it on then stood up and showed it to jurors.

She was then asked about driving Ken's truck. She said she drove it more than a few times, but didn't like to because it rode rough. She said she used it to take Jordan to girl scouts, then teared up as she relayed being asked by a girl scout leader to do a presentation about fire safety. She said she also taught the girls how to do the Heimlich.

She admits to driving by the credit union on Jan. 22 and glancing over to see if Heather's car was there. She said it wasn't. She said she called the credit union to inquire about something on her statement after she'd already closed her account. She said she intentionally called every extension except Heather's because "I didn't want to talk to her." She kept getting voice mails, so she became frustrated and figured she would call later.

"Did you ever call anyone to see if she was at the bank?" the public defender asked.

Shawna responded, "No, I already knew she wasn't there."

Shawna said she did not talk about Heather to Michelle Moore at Jackson's Hole.

"I was driving Michelle home and told her that I could not longer have a sexual relationship with her, that I'd been thinking through our drinks, and that since I was actually trying to finally be loyal to Ken, that I was going to go home and fess up and that I was going to go home and tell Ken about my relationship with Michelle Moore, that I still loved her and wanted to be friends, but that I couldn't keep lying to Ken," Nelso said.

"On Jan. 23rd (the day of the shooting) did you do anything?" the defense asked.

Nelson said she took the kids to school, called Ken to see if he wanted a Starbuck's, then went home. She said she had a headache from bumping her head on a pantry door. She said she called Michelle and left a message that she was sorry, that she would be home all night, had a headache and "was going to take a bath."

Prosecution rests at 2:04 p.m. Thursday.

Jurors are sent out. Shawna is told she has a right to testify but doesn't have to. Judge also said Shawna also has the right not to testify. He said if she chooses not to testify it should not prejudice her in the eyes of the jury.

She said she is going to testify.

Dr. John Carver is called to the stand.

Dr. Carver is an expert in forensic pathology. He performed the autopsy on Heather Garraus in the morgue at McKee Medical Center in Loveland Colo.

He said he saw two gunshot wounds -- one a grazing wound through the victim's right upper back and up to her skull. The second is a gunshot wound to her left temple.

He said those wounds were the cause of Heather's death.

Instead of putting pictures on the overhead projector, the prosecutor handed still pictures to jurors. so they could look at each one and pass it on to the next juror.

The gunshot wound to left temple is a contact wound. When a gun is fired powder, flame gas and soot come out of the tip of the barrel. In a contact wound that gas and soot go into the wound ballooning the skin outward and tearing it. There was abrasion around the defect. The flame from the gun heated or cooked the skin immediately around the wound.

The other is an intermediate range wound. Examination of Heather's sweater appears to show a sparse scattering of unburned gun powder. Because those particles were so sparse and so spread out, it's an indication that the end of the gun was a few feet away from her back when that bullet entered.

He said Heather's death was within seconds. Manner: Homicide.

Yvonne Woods with CBI is still on the stand.

She was asked about the shoes in evidence. She said the DNA profiles indicated the presence of mixtures. It showed two people, with the major component being female and matching the DNA profile developed from Shawna Nelson.

"To a reasonable degree of scientific certainty Shawna Nelson is the source of the major component of the DNA profile developed from these shoes," Woods said.

She said they could exclude Heather Garraus and Michelle Moore's DNA.

Under cross examination, Woods said she couldn't tell if it was a skin cell, saliva or sweat that was tested off the shoes. Also, she said they didn't find blood on the door or steering wheel of the pickup Shawna was driving. She said the gun was examined for hair and blood, but they did not find any.

The found no hair on floor or floor mats of pickup truck.

She talked briefly about gum wrapper found in Heather Garraus' vehicle.

Yvonne Woods of CBI is now testifying.

Woods is a lab agent and forensics expert in serology and DNA analysis. She said they have the ability to detect blood, semen and saliva, and traces of urine or feces.

If they think it's blood, they use certain chemicals. She said if there is blood present, the chemical will change to a specific color.

She said her job is to collect and preserve evidence. They look for gunshot residue, bodily fluids, hairs and fiber. She said she tested the defendant's sweatpants, sweater jacket, tank top, baseball cap, briefs, hood or mask, and left and right shoes.

She talked about amplification that allows DNA to make copies of itself quickly. Then the CBI analyzes it.

She said they tested the mask for blood, none was found. Then tested the mask for DNA.

**Judge says let's break for lunch. Says be back at 1:10 p.m.

Alex Rugh of Colorado Bureau of Investigation is called to testify.

He's explaining how they conduct GSR (gun shot residue) tests. He said the common technique used to collect gun shot residue is with a metal disk with sticky carbon tape. He said sampling devices are combined in kits.

To process, they use a scanning electron microscope, with a detector which is capable of identifying chemical elements. He said particles cannot be age-dated.

He said the test stub on Shawna's sweatpants was positive for presence of gun shot residue.

"In other words," Rugh said, "Lead antimony was found in at least one particle."

He said the result of Shawna's sweater was also positive and so was the tank top, cap, men's underwear and glove.

He says the mask did NOT test positive for gunshot residue.

He also said the right shoe was positive, but the left shoe was not.

As for the pickup truck that Shawna was driving, the interior of driver's side door also tested positive for gun shot residue.

Rugh said the results of the kits were positive for gunshot residue and those were specific samples taken from Shawna's right hand and face. He said the particles are small and are about one-tenth the width of a human hair.

He said there was nothing in the process to make him believe the results were inaccurate.

Under cross examination, Rugh said there are three possibilities that would allow a particle to be present: 1) the person fired the gun 2) the person was near a gun that was fired by someone else 3) the person came into contact with something that had gunshot residue on it.

He was asked by the Public Defender if he could he say which of those three caused the gunshot residue in these tests? He said, "We cannot."

He said he can't tell on what date a particle is created.

He was asked if a police officer is armed with a weapon is it possible for him to have GSR particles on his hands, clothing or handcuffs. He said yes.

He was also asked if a person was placed inside a police vehicle that had GSR on the seat or inside the car, was it possible for that residue to be transferred to that individual. He said, "Yes."

Det. Prill is still on the stand.

Prill said that on Feb. 18, 2007 Shawna stopped saying she couldn't remember anything and started saying she couldn't have done it (committed murder) because she wasn't raised that way.

Then she started accusing many other people. After accusing Ignacio for several months, she then started to accuse Ken.

During a phone conversation with her sister, the sister asked if Michelle Moore could be a suspect. Shawna was adamant that Moore wasn't. Her sister said, "Yeah, but you don't know that, you can't be certain."

Prill said that while Shawna was still crying, she sighed and said, "Well, yeah I do."

When asked about a relationship with Michelle Moore, Prill said Shawna adamantly denied having sexual contact with Moore. She said they kissed, and even slept in the same bed, but never had sexual contact.

Prill showed jurors a timeline of phone calls made back and forth between Shawna Nelson and Ignacio or Heather Garraus.

Numerous calls were made between Dec. 9 and Jan. 16.

Det. Mike Prill/Greeley Police Dept. is sworn in.

Prill said he was with Det. Tharp when they heard the call about the shooting. They started heading toward the scene and came upon the suspect's vehicle, which had been stopped in the middle of the street.

He said he saw Shawna Nelson wearing a calf-length sweater coat, lavender tank top, black sweat pants and no shoes. The prosecutor asked, "No shoes?" Prill repeated, "No shoes. She had socks on, but no shoes."

The prosecutor asked what the weather was like. He said it was cold; there was ice and snow on the ground.

Prill said the passenger-side window of the pickup truck was down. The other windows were up. He said he conducted a gun residue test on the hands and face of the defendant.

Prill is then shown several pieces of evidence and identifies them as the clothing the defendant was wearing at the time of her arrest.

He is asked about a search warrant. He said the first was executed at the suspect's house early in the morning, Jan. 24. He said they attempted to enter the master bedroom, but it was locked. He found a key chuck on the frame above the door and used it to open the door. He found the bedroom clean, with few clothing items on the floor. Otherwise, the room and house was pristine.

He said the bathroom was pristine, with bath half filled with room temperature temperature. There was no soap.

He searched the basement and found a gun box. The label on the gun box was for Glock 22, .40-caliber handgun, serial number KDN-907.

Five or six months later he started asking questions about that gun, after learning about scientific evidence linking it to shell casings found at the crime scene.

Prill explained the phone system at the detention center. He said the defendant can't get phone call, can only make them.

Prosecutors played a recording of one call Shawna Nelson made to her husband, Ken, on Jan. 29, 2007.

On the call, Ken Nelson asked if she'd talked to her attorney that day. She said no, she hadn't talked to anybody. She said she'd talked to him Friday.

Shawna described the bare bones surrounding of her isolation cell and complained that they weren't going to move her because she was the wife of a deputy. She said there was no TV. She only got an hour out of her cell every day.

"It's just a bunch of concrete there," she said.

He said he'd try to get her moved to Washington County. She said it wouldn't matter because she couldn't have any visitors. She started to cry, and he told her to hang in there.

She said, "I keep thinking I'm going to wake up from this."

Then they talk about their kids. Shawna asked if Jordan had been getting her homework done. She asked Ken what he told them. He said he told the kids "that sometimes Mom makes some bad decisions. She did it again."

He said Dillon heard her Shawna say, "That hag Heather, how come she couldn't just let me be friends?"

She talked about getting ready to take a bath. He told her he went home and thought she was in the tub, but couldn't get an answer. He said he saw her purse on the counter. She said she couldn't remember if she had gotten in the tub. She remembered going to the liquor store, but then realizing she didn't have her purse.

She said the Prozac is helping, it makes her feels better.

She said, "I don't know Ken, I don't remember anything."

She said the attorney asked her about the mask in the truck and Shawna said it's been in there since Halloween. She put it in there to scare the kids.

Ken said, "I don't remember seeing that mask in there."

She said she was asked about Ken's duty weapon. He said he'd figure something out.

"I have to know that you're going to be there for me," Shawna said.

Ken responded, "I'm not going to kick you when you're down."

She said, "I love you Ken."

Det. Prill said Shawna had talked to Ken on Feb. 5 and talked about blackouts.

Juror 9 is dismissed because of a migraine headache.

That juror is replaced by an alternate.


Nelson Trial Blog: Forensic Experts Link Casings To Gun

Feb. 27: Shawna Nelson Vented Frustration At Shooting Range

7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from the trial.

TheDenverChannel.com

February 28, 2008

Jurors sent home for the day.

Prosecutors say they have four more witnesses to put on the stand. One of them is a DNA expert. Prosecution may wrap up tomorrow.

Michelle Bush is now on the stand.

Bush is a paramedic with the Weld County Ambulance Service. She was called to the scene of the shooting on Jan. 23, 2007. She said she and a fellow paramedic trainee saw Heather on the ground and determined there was nothing that could be done for her.

She said parts of the victim's brain were on the pavement next to her head.

She also recalls a retirement party in Sept. 2004.

She was reluctant to go back in, but did after being told that Shawna was not there. Ignacio had told her Shawna would be mad at her for taking Ignacio home. She remembered Shawna walking up to her and calling her a "f***** whore."

Sgt. Steve Black is called to testify.

He recalls seeing the defendant at a party at a restaurant. Ignacio Garraus was there with Michelle Bush.

When Shawna saw Bush she became angry. Black said Shawna yelled, "You f****** bi***, you f****** whore." He said she was pointing at Michelle Bush, gesturing and began moving toward Bush.

Black said several other guests had to restrain Shawna, then told her she had to leave.

Under cross examination, Black said the party was three and a half years ago. It was Ken Warren's retirement party. Most guests were male friends from the department.

Caia Berning takes the stand. She was a customer at the credit union.

Caia testified that she called the credit union earlier to inquire about her loan application. She was told her car was too old to be used as collateral.

She said she was not angry about it. She was asked point-blank how old she was and she said 70. She was asked how much she weighed. She said 150 pounds. And she was asked if she shot and killed Heather. She said no.

Shawna is 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 200 pounds.

Wendy Jones, Heather Garraus' sister, is called to testify.

Jones said Heather called her the Sunday before Christmas and was very distraught. (She'd just learned about the affair.) She said Heather wanted her sister to come pick her up.

Jones and her husband drove to Greeley, got Heather and took her to their home. She stayed overnight then wanted to go back to Greeley to talk to Ignacio.

Dr. Peter Maxwell takes the stand.

Maxwell is an Emergency Medical Physician at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. He said he's the one who stopped Ignacio Garraus from entering the trauma center the night of the shooting, and he's the one who told him Heather was dead.

Carole Rose is called to testify.

She is the Manager of the credit union where Heather worked. She said Heather's title was supervisor, but she was Rose's assistant.

She said she was aware of the affair between Ignacio Garraus and Shawna Nelson. She said Heather showed her some text messages on her phone.

One of those text messages said, "Heather, if you're reading this U R a psycho bi***. It was dated Jan. 8 at 2:15 p.m. Call back # 970-590-2012.

She said after Heather learned about the affair she was so upset she took the whole day off.

Donna Tuma, Shawna's friend, is called to the stand.

She testified that Shawna showed her pictures of Ignacio taken on her cell phone. One of them showed Ignacio from the stomach up, naked in bed. She said Shawna didn't like Heather and called her a fat cow, bi*** and hag.

She said Shawna was upset when Ignacio broke of their relationship. "I just recall her (Shawna) saying she was going to make his life hell, and she was going to make him pay for this," Tuma said.

Jurors heard from a juvenile witness: Paige Walker.

Paige's mother is/was a friend of Shawna's. Paige was dropped off at the Nelson house about a week before the shooting, while her mother went to work.

Paige testified that Mrs. Nelson called Ignacio's father and told him she was upset that Ignacio wasn't talking to her. She was going to send pictures of Christian to Ignacio's dad.

Paige said she remembers a phone call between Ken and Shawna, with Shawna telling him she didn't love him anymore.

She said Shawna told her that she didn't have a sexual relationship with Ken anymore. That when Ken came home, she didn't talk to him, she went to bed. She recalls Shawna talking about Ignacio Garraus and how much she loved him, and how much they were meant to be together.

She also recalls Shawna talking about Heather.

"She didn't like Heather at all," Paige said.

Shawna blamed Heather for her and Ignacio breaking up, Paige said.

Paige's mom Sonja Walker also testifed. She was friends with Shawna and worked as a dispatcher for three and a half years. She said Shawna called Heather "a hag" and said Shawna had a strong dislike of Heather.

Anne Mioduski is called to testify.

She is a friend of Shawna's who worked with her at the dispatch center. Mioduski told jurors that Shawna Nelson told her she was upset and didn't know what she had to live for after Ignacio Garraus ended their relationship.

She said Shawna told her Ignacio had mentioned several times that he didn't have enough money. Shawna, who was angry, had told Mioduski that she "was going to take Garraus to court and make him pay child support, then he really wouldn't have enough money."

She also relayed that the night Ignacio had to leave the bar after getting a phone call from his wife, Shawna texted him on his cell phone and Heather intercepted it, and called Shawna on it. She said Shawna texted Heather, "anytime, anywhere bi***."

Tamara Orton-Felipic is on the stand.

She's a bartender at Jackson's Hole restaurant. She said she met Ignacio Garraus while doing ride alongs with Greeley police. She said she knows Shawna and said Shawna told her that Ignacio was trying to end their relationship. She said Shawna was upset and crying.

She said Shawna told her she was so angry at Heather that she said she "was going to beat her up or kick her ass."

Under cross examination, Orton-Felipic said she remembers seeing Shawna and Ignacio together kissing in the bar. Also said that she heard Shawna say she would kick Heather's ass or exchange words with her.

Officer Novar Garcia has been called to the stand.

He's with the Greeley Police Dept. and said he has known Shawna for quite some time.

He said he got a phone call from Shawna Nelson on Dec. 19, 2006. He said Shawna was crying, and told him she was sorry she had lied to others about who the father of her son was.

She said the real father was Ignacio Garraus. She was upset, saying that Ignacio had chosen to stay with Heather.

"She said he chose a woman over blood," Garcia quoted Nelson as saying.

He told jurors that Shawna said she planned to take Ignacio Garraus to court and have him pay child support.

"She said he was going to pay," Garcia said.

Jennifer Morrison takes the stand.

She was a dispatcher who worked under Shawna Nelson until 2005. She testified that Nelson had talked to her, Ignacio and Heather. Morrison told jurors that Nelson told her she would vent her frustration by going to the shooting range and pretending her target was Heather.

Det. Matt Walsh of Greeley P.D. is called to the stand.

When task force members took the gun to the police department, Walsh was given the glock and placed it in an evidence box. He said it came in a paddle holster.

Walsh looked at the gun in a box placed in front of him on the stand and identified it as the weapon he took possession of.

Lt. Steve Nelson is called to the stand.

He was the commander of the drug task force on Jan. 23, 2007

He said Ken Nelson was very emotional after the shooting and that Ken was crying. He said when other officers gave him Ken Nelson's Glock, he put it in a safe, then later turned it over to investigators with Greeley police.

Under cross examination, he said it was fully unloaded when it was put in the safe.

Jon Trahan, and Evans police offer, is called to the stand.

He was with the Weld County Drug Task Force in January 2007. He said Ken's face was devoid of all emotion that afternoon, then saw Ken and Sgt. Hulsey leave the task force office.

Afterwards, someone got a call from Hulsey asking them to bring his vehicle to stop location. Trahan took it, then returned to the task force site.

Later at the task force site he saw Ken sitting in his truck. He walked over, opened the passenger side door and saw a Glock-22 on the passenger seat. He said he picked it up so he wouldn't sit on it and got in the truck so Ken wouldn't be alone.

He said Ken was visibly upset. He said Ken said, "What the f*** was she thinking. She left the kids alone."

Trahan said as he was leaving, he still had Nelson's Glock and took it and handed it to Sgt. Nelson.

Under cross, he said he picked up the Glock in a black holster.

"Ken was quiet, tense, I would assume, in shock," Trahan said.

When he got out of the Jeep, Ken said, "Take that with you."

Trahan said he took the gun with him. He said he was later involved in searching the Jeep. He collected a rifle, but no other hand guns. He said he considered himself a friend, but wouldn't lie for Ken.

Fred Brown has been called to the stand.

He is the Commercial Fleet Division Manager for the Spradley-Barr Auto Group. Prior to that he was with Garnsey-Wheeler Ford. He has helped several law enforcement agencies identify vehicles and the differences in vehicles.

There were questions about the differences between an F-150 and an F-250.

Prosecutors played video from the crime scene and asked if there was anything of significance to him in the video. The video apparently came from an ATM machine camera in front of the credit union.

The video shows a picture of pickup driving by. He said the light pattern is consistent with a Ford F-250. Also the side marker light is consistent with a Ford F-250. Given the rise, it's older than a 2002 model, he said.

The reflected chrome wheels are not steel. The truck cab light pattern is indicative of Ford F-250. Trailer tow mirrors indicative of a super duty model. It appears to be an extended cab, short box truck with 8 holes in the wheels and a 156-inch wheelbase.

He was asked if he formed any opinion about what kind of truck it was. He said yes. He felt it was a Ford F-250 Super Cab, Super Duty XLT 4-wheel drive gas engine, because there was no badging for a diesel.

When asked about the year, he said he felt it was a 2001. He then looked at a still picture of the pickup tied to this case and identified it as a Ford F-250.

Under cross examination, he was asked if Ford trucks are a popular brand. He responded, it's No. 1. He said there could be thousands in Northern Colorado. He said Ford and the county would have number of Fords that were registered.

Alan Hammond is still on the stand.

He said the Glock appeared to have been cleaned and not fired since the cleaning when it arrived at CBI. He said the live rounds that accompanied the gun were different from the casings and bullet that were recovered at the murder scene.

Under cross examination, he said the gun holds 16 rounds and that he can't tell when the bullet was fired, or when the casings were fired. Nor can he tell the last time the Glock was fired.

Prosecutors have called Agent Alan Hammond to the stand.

He is a forensic expert with Aurora Police Department, assigned to CBI. Prior to APD he worked at CBI. He test fired some shells from Ken Nelson's Glock 22, .40-caliber semi-automatic, serial number KDN 907.

He said in his opinion, the evidence cases were fired by the same gun that he tested. He based that on unique firing pin impressions. He was asked if he felt that to the exclusion of all other Glocks, and he said, "Yes, in my opinion."

But Hammond said he couldn't say that the bullet recovered from the homicide scene was definitely fired by that same Glock, or any Glock. He said in his opinion, the bullet recovered from the scene was not fired from a revolver.

Earlier, Michelle Moore had testified that Shawna said she would leave evidence to confuse investigators.

Michelle Moore is called back to the stand.

The prosecutor asked her about Shawna's feelings about Heather Garraus.

Moore said Shawna felt it was Heather who had the power in her marriage, and that Heather was forcing Ignacio to stay in the marriage.

The prosecutor asked Moore why she didn't go to police earlier.

She said, "In some ways I was being loyal, because I didn't want to believe that it had happened."

The prosecutor then asked, "Do you believe you could have prevented what happened had you gone to police earlier?"

"I don't know," Moore said.

She was asked, "Are you facing 9 years in prison?" She said, "Yes."

Under cross examination, the public defender asked Moore if before she was facing 9 years (with a plea deal) she was facing 48 years. She said yes. He asked her about her five or six interviews with police and how her story changed with each interview. He said, "You want us to take your word that you're telling the truth?"

She responded, "You can take my word and evidence."

Under redirect, Moore was asked if she had access to or was driving Ken Nelson's pickup truck the night of the shooting, she said no. He asked if she shot Heather Garraus, she said no.


Shawna Nelson Trial Blog: Husband, Best Friend Testify

Day Four: Ken Nelson, Michelle Moore Take Stand

7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from the trial.

TheDenverChannel.com

February 27, 2008

Public defender (PD) asked if Michelle was the one who who put Ambien in Ken's coffee. She said yes. The PD asked if she was the one who took a pair of pliers and said she'd cut the brake lines on Heather's car. She said yes.

The PD asked if Michelle was aware that Heather had to have the car repaired after that. She said yes. The PD asked if the nails Shawna reportedly threw in the Garraus' driveway had been bent with pliers. Michelle answered yes.

The public defender asked about Michelle and Shawna's DNA conversation. He said, "You were the one who said that she should shoot her through a car window so it would serve as a barrier to DNA transfer."

Moore responded, "Yes."

Moore said the discussion at a Wal-Mart parking lot was the only conversation she'd had with Shawna about shooting Heather.

PD said, "Later, you told police there was another conversation when you got home from Girl Scout meeting, you talked about a phone call with a coded message." (Where "taking a bath" meant the task had been completed.)

PD says statements to police kept switching back and forth. Moore responded, "Not entirely."

PD said police told Moore that putting Ambien in Ken's coffee would be felony assault, but police wouldn't charge her if she told them more.

"You never tried to talk Shawna out of it? Never tried to tell police?" the public defender asked.

"No," Moore said.

"Yet, you'd been a police officer since 1996? ... You told Detective Tharp you thought all of this was a game. Tharp said how could you think it's a game when you just put Ambien in Ken's coffee?"

Public defender says police told Moore that her statements were so inconsistent that she was weakening the case against Shawna Nelson. Police said at that point, the defense could argue you are the one who actually killed Heather Garraus?

"Correct," Moore said.

You didn't want to be charged with first degree murder. You didn't want to go to jail?

"Correct," Moore said.

She had asked during fifth interview what Shawna could be facing.

"At that point you, you decided to change your story," the public defender said.

"I decided to tell the truth," Moore said.

Michelle Moore told jurors that Shawna was going up and down.

"She said she was going to get rid of Heather that night. She said she 'has to, that if I can't have him, Heather can't.'"

Moore said Shawna said, "If you get a phone call from me tomorrow saying, 'I'm taking a bath,' then you know I did it."

Later when Moore was checking her voicemail messages there was one from Shawna saying she was going to relax and take a bath.

Moore said her boyfriend later came over and told her that Heather Garraus had been shot.

Moore said she originally did not tell police what she knew because she was scared. She said she didn't know what was really going on.

She said she didn't tell police everything she knew. In November 2007 she called Detective Tharp. He told her if there was anything else she wanted to say now was the time to do it. She didn't say anything.

She called him back Nov. 8 and told him there were some things she wanted to tell him. She said she wasn't facing any charges at that point but she just felt she needed to do it. On Nov. 14, during the interview, she outlined more details about conversations she had with Shawna.

Moore says she hoped that charges would not be filed but was never promised they wouldn't be.

She says one Halloween Shawna was in a nun costume. It was a traditional full-length to the floor black piece.

Michelle Moore is on the stand. She reached an agreement this morning to plead guilty to aiding and abbetting Shawna Nelson with the crime.

She says she met Shawna when she was a patrol officer and Shawna was a dispatcher.

She says they were good friends. She knew Nelson's immediate family and had been to their home numerous times.

She says she was aware of Shawna's relationship with Ignacio Garraus because Shawna confided in her about her relationship.

She says Shawna often told her she was in love with him (Garraus) and didn't get along with her husband. Says Shawna called Heather a "hag" and "there were some other names."

"She disliked Heather. She hated her," Moore said.

Shawna believed that Heather wasn't good enough for Ignacio, and that she (Shawna) was better. Michelle says Shawna would frequently drive by the Garraus residence.

She says she was with Shawna when "she asked me to get out and take a Minnie Mouse ball off Heather's antenna. I gave it to her (Shawna)."

Another time, "she asked me to get out, made it seem like a joke, but to go cut her brake line on her car ... She handed me a pair of pliers or cutters, and I got out and went to the front tire and pretended to do something but didn't."

"I went back to her vehicle and got in and we left. I told that I cut something. She just smiled and laughed."

Another time, "She threw nails out in front of the driveway."

Shawna often expressed that Heather was standing in the way of what she wanted, the man she wanted.

"She had said that she wanted to get rid of her," Moore testified.

Was there any doubt about what she wanted to do?

"No, not now," Moore said.

Prosecutor asked, "Do you recall in December going to the Cactus Canyon?"

She said Shawna, she and Ignacio went to the bar. She said Ig had gotten a phone call and left. Shawna was angry that he answered his phone when he was supposed to be with her.

"There was some name calling of Heather Garraus."

Moore says that the next day, Shawna told her that Ig had told Heather about everything. That day or the next day Shawna had come back up and said that Ig and Heather were working things out. Shawna was very angry about that, but said he made that choice.

Shawna believed that Heather had talked Ignacio into staying in the marriage. Shawna didn't think Ignacio wanted to, but Heather forced him to. Her anger was directed at Heather, Moore said.

She said Shawna told her, "Well, I could just shoot her." Shawna said she could "just drive down to the credit union and shoot her ... That there was a vacant house nearby where she could park her truck, then come back."

Moore said Shawna would engage her in different scenarios and talk about things that she could do and things that she shouldn't do.

Shawna had asked about evidence. "I told her a person would have to disguise themselves. She said that 'she has a mask and a black robe," Moore said.

Any questions regarding hands?

"We talked about DNA. I told her you would probably have to wear gloves."

And other steps?

"Yes, that you can't have your hair showing, that you have to be completely covered up. Also that you can't leave any shell casings on the ground. I said you would probably want to leave something from someone else to make it look like it wasn't you," Moore said.

Kind of in a joking matter, Shawna said, "I could take a belt and rub it on the floor of a Wal-Mart. That should do it."

Moore says Shawna said she couldn't use her own vehicle because everyone would recognize it. Shawna then thought about a cousin's vehicle, but decided she didn't want to do that to the cousin, then talked about using Ken's truck, Moore said.

When asked if there was any discussion about method, Moore said she had talked about poison. There was also talk about firearms.

She said she was going to pawn her wedding ring, then said she was going to pawn a weapon. She said Shawna told her she would lower her voice to make it sound more like a man, different.

She said Shawna also told her that she knew someone who had been turned down for a loan and she would use that and say, "You denied me a loan."

On Jan. 22, Moore was with Shawna when she picked up Jordan from school. Ken had picked up Dillon. They went to a Girl Scouts function, then went to McDonald's in Ken's truck. Shawna got Happy Meals for kids, and Starbuck's for Ken and went back to the Nelsons' house.

"She handed me a small baggy that had some crushed up stuff in it. She said it was Ambien. She wanted me to put it in Ken's coffee. She said she didn't want to bother him... then Shawna went into another room," Moore said.

A while later she came back, noticed that Ken didn't drink the coffee so Shawna dumped it down the drain and said, "Well, she's not where she's supposed to be."

Moore assumed that Shawna was talking about Heather.

After dinner Shawna and Moore went to Jackson's Hole. Shawna told her she was in hell, and didn't want to live like this anymore.

Under re-direct he said he himself had never loaned his pickup to Ignacio Garraus. He said that info came from wife Shawna.

He also said when his wife told him about Christian, and that she didn't believe in abortions, she hadn't told him that she'd already had one.

Did you ever see a black gown?

"No," he replied.

Did you ever see your wife dressed in costume as a pregnant nun?

"No, but I had seen a picture of it," he replied.

Did you know she was wearing your underwear (on the day of the shooting)?

"No," he said.

Does she normally wear your undergarments?

"No," he said.

When asked about the letter from the Garraus' to the Nelsons' Ken said Shawna mentioned that "Heather must be behind it."

Ken Nelson says he like to hunt elk so he has carried rifles in his pickup, specifically a Remington 700 and a shotgun. He says it was normal to have different types of ammunition in the truck including shotgun, .45-caliber and .40-caliber.

He was asked if it was common for PMC spent ammo to be left in the truck. He said "yes."

He says Shawna had let Ignacio Garraus use his pickup before. Also her brother-in-law, Kurt Smith, who is a painter.

He says he didn't think there was a problem with the children being down in the basement, not even Christian, who was 1-year-old at the time.

He says Shawna appeared surprised when he stopped her on the street on Jan. 23 and shouted questions to her about the kids.

He testified under direct examination that he picked up the black object (the mask) then put it back down.

Under cross examination, he was asked if this is the first time he mentioned that. He said, "No, I believe I told Greeley police about that."

The public defender asked Nelson if he was certain that he had the Glock 22 with him when he went to work that day. Nelson said yes. "Are you certain?" the public defender asked. "Yes," Nelson replied. He said there was no possibility that he was confused.

Nelson was asked, "Did you see the Glock 27 any night of the 23rd?" He responded, "No."

Nelson was then asked if there was any possibility that the Glock 22 could have left his presence and be used in the shooting at the credit union. He said, "No." When asked how certain he was of that, he responded, "Positive."

He was then shown the shoes taken into evidence. He said he didn't recognize them. He said they appear to be a men's size 10 and said Shawna wears a women's size 8. He says he's never seen those shoes in Shawna's possession.

He was asked if he's hidden or altered any evidence in this case. He said no.

Prosecutors asked Ken Nelson how he learned about the shooting. He said dispatchers aired it over the radio. That's how he learned Shawna was a suspect.

"I initially thought one of the other detectives was trying to be funny. Then they broadcast it a second time," Nelson said.

He says he grabbed Kell Hulsey and took off. He was worried that his own children had been shot.

On the way home he spotted his own pickup behind him. He stopped in the middle of the road, got out of his Jeep and stepped in front of the pickup, then confronted his wife. He looked inside the pickup, saw a mask on the floor and didn't know what it was at first.

He then got back in his Jeep and took off to check up on his children.

Dillon was home holding a karaoke machine.

"I told him to get his coat and get in the car," Ken said.

He then looked at some photographs of the mask recovered from his pickup. When asked if he had ever seen that mask prior to Jan 23 -- in his house or in his vehicle -- Nelson said, "No." He said he'd never seen his wife wear it before.

He said a week before the shooting, he was looking for a high capacity magazine for his duty weapon. He said he looked throughout his pickup, under and between the seats and in the glovebox, and didn't find it. He said he never saw the mask in the pickup while he was searching for the magazine.

Nelson was then asked about a Glock handgun. He said it was a subcompact 27, which was very similar to his duty gun. He said Shawna told him she took it to Loveland to pawn it because she didn't want pawn records to be seen in Greeley. Nelson also said Shawna told him she actually sold the gun to someone in front of the pawn shop so she didn't have to pawn it.

After the Glock was sold, he never saw any other handguns in his house.

In Jan. 2007 Nelson still had Glock 23 pistol that she said she had pawned and his Glock model 22, his duty weapon. The Glock 27 had already been sold.

When asked about the affair his wife had with Ignacio Garraus, Nelson said he'd agreed to work things out with his wife and raise Christian as his own. He said he knew Christian couldn't be his son because he'd had a vasectomy.

He said he was aware of his wife's tattoo on her ankle. He said he didn't know what it was then. She said it was something tribal.

He says he continues to raise all three kids. He says divorce proceedings are going forward, but have not been finalized.

Defendant's husband, Ken Nelson, takes the stand.

He says he has been married to Shawna for 12 years. They have three children -- Dillon, 9; Jordan, 7; and Christian, 2.

Says he found out about the affair around Christmas 2005; he later said it may have been 2004.

He says he and Shawna separated and he filed for divorce. Later, when he learned she was pregnant with Christian, the couple reconciled and he agreed to raise the boy as his own.

He tried to get Ignacio's parental rights terminated.

Later, he got a letter from Garraus' attorney telling them that all contact must now be through an attorney. He says Shawna was upset and said, "It must have had to do with Heather."

He said the Ford Expedition belonged to his wife. He says she didn't drive his pickup truck very much because she thought it rode too rough.

He says that on Jan. 22 -- the day before the shooting -- he saw his wife's best friend, Michelle Moore. She and his wife had brought some Happy Meals home for the kids.

He says he went to work around 11:20 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 23, 2007. He took the Jeep Cherokee, his work vehicle. He was supposed to work from noon to 10 p.m. He checked for e-mail, phone messages, did some followup work.

He went home for dinner around 5:15 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. He parked in front and the door was locked. Dillon came up the stairs. He says Jordan and Christian were both downstairs in the unfinished basement area. He says that was not a normal area for him to be in.

Shawna wasn't home. Dillon said she was upstairs taking a bath. Master bedroom door was locked. He called out and there was no answer. He said that was not unusual.

He went back to work. Because her purse and keys were there, he thought maybe she just couldn't hear him. He said he heard no noise coming from master bedroom.

He said Dillon told him that Shawna said she would pay him (Dillon) to watch the other children. He left the house without eating, went to his mother's house briefly, then back to work.

He says there was supposed to be a briefing at 6:00 but that that briefing never occured.

John Kinne is sworn in. He is an officer with the Greeley Police Dept.

He testified that on Jan. 23, 2007 he was at Starbucks and he saw the defendant drive by. They waved to each other. He had known her as a coworker. Her husband, Ken, was his first supervisor at Evans Police Dept.

He says 5-10 minutes later he saw Ignacio Garraus and his daughter at Starbucks.

Later, he says by looking at videotape from a nearby Subway he saw that Shawna was wearing white shoes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2006.

Prosecutors call William Bodziak to the stand. He is a forensic consultant and expert in tire tracks and tire track comparisons. Bodziak testified that a dental stone cast of tire treads found behind the credit union where the shooting took place matched the treads on the tires of the pickup truck that the suspect was driving.

He talked about tread patterns and how stones lodged in the tread could leave telltale impressions in a track.

Bodziak told jurors, "It's highly probable that this tire, (from the suspect's pickup) right rear tire made the impression that this cast represents."


Nelson Trial Blog Day 3: Tape Of Interrogation Shown

Monday, Feb. 25: Shoes Found On Snowbank Where Nelson Was Stopped

7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from the trial.

TheDenverChannel.com

February 26, 2008

Sgt. Bill Weist testifies about text messages to and from Ignacio Garraus. In one he said, Ken Nelson planned to raise the boy, Christian, as his own.

Under cross examination, he said he found a spent cartridge in the back of Ken Nelson's undercover Jeep.

Andrew Bird testifies about the spent shell and shell casings found at the shooting scene.

Julie Rohleder now on stand.

She is with Credit Union of Colorado, formerly Colo. State Employees Credit Union.

She said she's in charge of 14 branches including the Greeley branch where the shooting happened. She says date stamp on security video was correct, but the time was 10 minutes slow.

She says cameras activate with motion and video files all record at the same location.

She says one of the recordings shows Shawna Nelson inside the branch closing her account on Dec. 18, 2006.

Another one the day of the shooting shows a pickup truck drive by the ATM, but it doesn't show the driver, nor the license plate.

Officer Eli Wilcox now on the stand.

He said the pictures of the shoes are in fact the shoes that were found on the snowbank. Verified the shoes in evidence were in fact the shoes that were found and photographed.

Steve Perkins an officer with Greeley Police Dept. is now on the stand. He's the one who found the shoes on a snowbank. He stayed with them until investigators got to the scene and took pictures of them.

Under cross examination the public defender asked if one shoe was found on the north side of a bus stop and one shoe on the south side. He answered yes.

Under cross examination Tharp said he did not record the time it took to drive between the suspect's home and the credit union.

He says he took control of "Mrs. Nelson" and patted her down at the stop scene.

Public defender asked if he recalled her saying, "Greg, you know me. What's this about?" Also, "I wouldn't do this."

Public defender asked, "Do you recall saying that Shawna Nelson wasn't wearing shoes, but she was wearing socks?"

Yes, he responded.

Tharp testified that being right handed doesn't mean that you fire a gun with your right hand.

He said the Glock box was found in the basement, but no handguns were found in the house, none were found in Ken Nelson's task force Jeep, none in his pickup. No Ambien pills were found. Dumpsters were searched between the credit union and Nelson's home and no robes and no guns were found.

Prosecutors are playing two videotapes shot from inside a police vehicle. One on April 3, 2007. It shows the route from the crime scene to the stop scene.

Another tape shot in October 2007 shows Nelson's home, and then the route to the liquor store. Again that trip to the liquor store was 10 minutes and 37 seconds.

Tharp was asked if he was aware of the mask recovered out of Ken Nelson's truck. He said he was.

He also said he interviewed Melinda Maeder and showed her the mask. He says Maeder's eyes began to flinch a bit and she became emotional.

Tharp says he purchased a duplicate mask from Walmart for under $3. Also asked Fun World for a catalogue. Says there was a caption under the mask that said "You can see out, but they can't see in."

Tharp was asked if he was aware that shoes were found near where Shawna Nelson was stopped. He said he was.

The left shoe was found on 65th Avenue, north of 20th Street. The right shoe was found further north on 65th Avenue.

Shawna Nelson was stopped in the 6500 block of 18th Street.

Tharp says police seached the suspect's home and found a bathtub filled with warm water. Also found a handgun case for a Glock Model 22 -- a .40 caliber handgun with serial number KDN907.

Tharp said the pistol was not inside the case, but other items were, including a manila envelope which contained two spent shell casings test fired by Glock before sale. He says there were also some .40-caliber PMC shells in the box.

Another piece of evidence admitted was an application for firearms transaction, literally a record of purchase, for a Glock 22 -- a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun purchased July 11, 2006 from Garretson's Sporting Goods by Ken Nelson.

Tharp told jurors that on the night of the shooting, he drove the fastest route to the stop location, where the suspect was.

He says investigators later conducted a test to determine how long it would take to get from suspect's house to liquor store and back. Test revealed 10 minutes and 37 seconds.

Prosecutors play videotape of a police interview with Shawna the night of the shooting. On that tape Shawna starts crying as she tries to determine what to say to Detective Tharp.

When asked why she never answered her cell phone, she said she was worried that, "Ken would be pissed because I was going to the liquor store."

She said, "He was yelling, he was so pissed."

Detective Tharp said, "You know what this is about, don't you?" She said Kell Hulsey told her earlier.

"All he said was that there was a shooting and they wanted to talk to me," Shawna Nelson said on the tape.

Tharp said, "There was a shooting and you're considered a suspect."

She responded, "Why, I don't know."

Later she cried and said, "I've been home all day with the baby."

She immediately stopped crying, regained her composure and started answering questions about what she was doing all day.

She says she used her husband's truck instead of her's to go to the liquor store because it was so slick out that she nearly hit his truck while backing out with hers earlier in the day.

She told Tharp she wanted an attorney, then hugged the interrogator, whom she was friends with.

Tharp says Shawna Nelson told him she was driving her husband's pickup truck to go to a liquor store. For all other errands that day, she had been driving her own Ford Expedition.

He says Shawna told him that when she realized she didn't have her purse with her she turned around to go back home without getting out of the pickup truck.

Later that evening, Nelson told Tharp she had to pee really bad. He says he was concerned that she might try to wash her hands in the sink, or get rid of evidence, so he hesitated. She told him she was taking diet pills which made her have to pee all the time.

Next up: Detective Greg Tharp of the Greeley Police Dept.

He received phone call from Sgt. Steve Black indicating there had been a robbery/shooting at the credit union. Call came in 6:20 p.m. Sgt. Black told him to come assist.

Det. Tharp says he and Det. Prill made their way to the scene. He said there had been rumors of a relationship between Ignacio Garraus of the Greeley Police Department and Shawna Nelson, whose husband was a deputy at Weld County Sheriff's Office.

When told Shawna Nelson was a suspect, Tharp and Prill started heading toward her house at 6547 19th St. to head her off.

They caught up to Ken Nelson and Kell Hulsey, who had already stopped Shawna Nelson. He says she was wearing a ball cap and dark clothing, but she wasn't wearing any shoes.

When asked what the weather was like, he said it was extremely cold. After recent snows, there was still a lot of ice and snow on the ground. He said, "Temperatures were progressing toward single digit temperatures."

Keller pointed at a map and showed jurors where the victim's body was in relation to the credit union building and ATM. Investigator also says he attended the autopsy.

Keller says he tested the suspect's pickup for gunshot residue, using kits normally used to test people's hands. He measured air pressure in each tire. Documented results.

He explained how he used dental stone to make a mold of the tire track. He said his concern was that the tire track was in the snow, but that when water is added to the dental stone powder, it generates it's own heat. He said he worried that it might melt the snow before the mold could cure. So he left the water out to cool off first, then mixed the paste thicker than normal. He said he made a mold, but when he tried to pry it up from the frozen pavement, it shattered. But even in pieces, he felt the mold had evidentiary value.

Under cross examination, Keller said he didn't know if any of the evidence had been moved or kicked around by others at the scene before they were photographed by investigators.

Public defender asked about two other tire tracks in the alley. Keller said police did not investigate the other two tracks, nor did they make casts of the other tracks.

Day 3 Of Testimony. Monday, Feb 25.

First witness called is Russell Keller, the first crime scene investigator.

He showed jurors videotape of the crime scene, explaining where he and the camera was in relation to the spot where the victim was found.

He said all the video was shot before investigators began searching for and identifying any piece of evidence.

First cops on the scene placed cups on top of a couple of obvious pieces of evidence. Later, evidence markers were placed by the cups. One marked an earring, another a spent shell casing.

Four evidence markers were placed in the alley marking possible tire tracks of the suspect's vehicle. Plaster casts were made of the tire tracks. He said they recovered a spent bullet at the scene and two spent shell casings.


Nelson Trial Blog Day 2: Suspect's Lover Testifies

Friday, Feb. 22: Ignacio Garraus, Kell Hulsey Testify

7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from the trial.

TheDenverChannel.com

February 23, 2008

Hulsey says Ken was determined to go home and check on his kids. The sgt. said, "Don't let him in the house. Stay away from it."

Hulsey responded,"You're going to have to send me some help because I'm going to have to fight him."

He says when they pulled next to Shawna Nelson, he saw Shawna slide across the seat and get out of the passenger side door. He says it was a heated exchange between Shawna and Ken.

She said, "What's wrong? Why are you so mad?"

Hulsey was concerned that Ken might hit her so he got between them.

He says he didn't see a gun on her and didn't see one in the truck.

He says he remembers seeing her in a big black shawl-type sweater.

Kell Hulsey is next up. He works at Greeley P.D. and is assigned to Weld County Drug Task Force.

When he heard radio calls about the shooting he thought it was a robbery that ended with someone getting shot.

When he heard Shawna Nelson's name, he couldn't believe it. He says Ken Nelson wanted to go right away. Kell told him "Hold on" and stalled for time to call the sgt. then went outside and got into passenger seat of Ken's undercover car.

Did Ken have a gun with him? Yes, Hulsey said.

He says Ken gave him his gun and said, "Take this."

He says Ken tried to call someone on the phone, but slammed it shut and said, "She's not home."

They stopped Shawna Nelson at 18th Street and 65th Avenue.

As they were crossing 65th Avenue, Ken yelled, "Give me my f****** gun." But Kell says he didn't give it to him. He kept it under the seat where he was sitting.

He says Ken slammed on the brakes and got out of the Cherokee. The black truck (pickup) was right next to them and Shawna Nelson was sitting inside.

Hulsey says Ken was yelling, "What did you do? What did you do? Where are my kids? Where are my kids?"

Ken jumped out of the truck and got back into his Cherokee and drove home to check up on his kids.

When asked if the defendant told him what she was doing, she said she'd gone to the liquor store.

"She was upset about being handcuffed and we told her that Heather Garraus had been shot and that she was a suspect," Hulsey said.

Under cross, Hulsey said there were some problems with Ken's performance on the task force. Prior to any discussion with Ken's supervisors at the sheriff's department, Ken voluntarily left the task force. He says he didn't see any other weapons other than the one Ken gave him when they first got into the Cherokee.

When asked if he wanted Shawna to have the abortion so Heather wouldn't find out about the affair, he said he participated in the decision. They came to Fort Collins for the procedure.

On Dec. 19, Shawna was waiting by Ignacio's truck when he came out of a Dept. of Revenue hearing. He said there was no physical confrontation, just verbal. He says he was in fear that Shawna would divulge their affair to Heather.

He said, "That was her leverage on me."

During the breakup, he says Shawna never told Heather about the affair or pregnancy. After a several month breakup, they resumed the affair and Shawna became pregnant with Christian.

Ken Nelson, Shawna's husband, was not living with Shawna the first time she was pregnant from the affair.

Ignacio says they discussed whether to have an abortion. Public defender asked if it was more than a discussion, if it was an argument.

Ignacio said Shawna was angry because he brought it up. When she became angry, he agreed to drop the idea.

Ken Nelson moved back in and wanted to raise the child even though he knew the child wasn't his, Ignacio says.

Says Ken Nelson served Shawna with divorce papers, but then changed his mind. She did not go through with her divorce.

Under redirect, Ignacio said he did not know his wife had a life insurance policy on herself. He said she had told him he was heavily insured.

He says Heather made good money and that went to paying for bills. With his wife dead, the big money was not coming in.

Prosecutor asked, "So this $168,000, that's not going to last you long?"

He responded, "No."

He says Shawna told him during the affair that she was on birth control.

"She got pregnant twice on birth control."

When asked if he knew his wife to have any enemies, Ignacio said, 'No, Heather was a good gal."

When asked if he or his wife had ever received any other threatening e-mails, he said, "No, just from Shawna."

Any voice mails?

He said all threats just came from Shawna.

Ignacio said he told an officer he was worried that something might happen to his property while he was in Florida. Said he was concerned about e-mails and text messages and was advised to save them. He and his family went to Florida.

When he came back, he discovered no damage to any property. He says Shawna at no time ever threatened to harm him or Heather.

He says he programmed his cell phone so that whenever Shawna called, the number would show up as belonging to someone named Omar.

He says a gum wrapper was found in his wife's car with the words "you will die" written on it. He says he doesn't know who wrote it, or how it got in the car.

He says he knew that if Heather divorced him, she would want custody of Victoria and would want possession of the house.

He says he knew he might be displaced from the residence. He says he would have made it work. Heather had received some inheritence money.

Ignacio has been unemployed since resigning from the Greeley Police Dept. He says he's concentrating on taking care of Victoria. When initially asked about a $200,000 life insurance policy, Ignacio said he has not received that settlement. Later, he said it came out to be $168,000.

He says he retained a Denver law firm for the possibility of a lawsuit against the city of Greeley and state of Colorado. He has not sued, but the letter preserves his right to do so.

Cross examination continues.

Public defender asks Ignacio if his father knew about Christian (the infant son) before Heather did. Ignacio said yes.

The attorney asked if Ignacio was aware that Heather told his father she would keep him updated about Christian. The prosecutor objected and the judge sustained the objection. So that question was not answered.

Ignacio says he told investigators that he'd had conversations with Shawna indicating that he did not want to have sex with her but felt she would not leave him alone until he had sex with her.

The two went up into the mountains, including Keystone. Spent several nights. Never told investigator about that.

He met her at a hotel in Denver before he and his family went on vacation in Florida. Never told investigator about that.

During third interview, Ignacio told investigators about sneaking out of the house to go to Cactus Canyon. He told them about the confrontation and about the officer driving him home. He said he admitted the affair to Heather because he was caught.

Ignacio says he would frequently go to Jackson's Hole or Starbucks to be with Shawna. He said he did not openly express affection for her. That he tried not to do that in public.

Ignacio admitted sneaking out of the house through the back door and going with Shawna Nelson and Michelle Moore to Cactus Canyon. He said he received a number of phone calls while at the bar and recognized them as Heather's number, so he didn't answer them.

He said he didn't ask Shawna to take him home, instead he called a police buddy (who was on duty) to come pick him up. He admitted that it was against department policy for an officer to pick up a drunk civilian and take them home.

Under cross examination, Ignacio said Shawna became pregnant twice during their affair. The first pregnancy was terminated by an abortion. He says he never told his wife about that pregnancy or the affair.

He said Shawna became pregnant a second time in 2005. The baby, Christian, was born in 2006. He never told Heather about that birth.

He says Heather had heard rumors about the baby and confronted him. He says he didn't tell her the truth and that the affair with Nelson continued until December 2006.

Ignacio also read some e-mail messages that he had exchanged with Shawna Nelson. In one, he told Shawna to drop off paperwork regarding the termination of his parental rights to their son at his attorney's office. He said he told her not to contact him or his family again, and that all communication was to be through their attorneys.

He said he asked her to take his name off her e-mail group.

He read her response to that e-mail.

In her response, she told him she was dead inside from all that has happened. She said she "was living every day in hell." And closed by saying, "I will always love you, bye."

Prosecutors projected a picture of a cellphone containing a text message on the white screen behind the witness and asked Ignacio about it.

He said the message stated: "My loyalty is gone. I loved and trusted u and u f***ed me. Be prepared." It came from phone number 970-397-9623. He said he recognized the number as the defendant's.

He said he also read the text below a picture of a baby that was forwarded to Heather's cellphone. The text said "Ig's flesh and blood."

Ignacio Garraus is now on the stand. He says he got some ice cream with his daughter then went to King Soopers, got some groceries, then went home. He says he got Victoria to do her homework, packed some food for an ice fishing trip then started making dinner.

At some point the phone rang. Daughter answered. Sara Staley was on the other end, asked for Ignacio.

She was hysterical saying that Heather was shot.

Prosecutor: Did she ask you to go anywhere? Response: No.

He says he went down to the credit union to see what happened to Heather.

He ended up at the hospital, and tried to enter the trauma area, but someone prevented him and told him Heather was dead.

He says he went back out to the car and told his daughter, "Mommy is dead."

The victim's daughter takes the stand. She says her mom took her to work that day and her dad picked her up. She says after school, they went to King Soopers, got some ice cream then went home. She says she was doing homework and her dad was making burgers when Sara Staley called.

When asked about the shooting, she started crying and said they didn't learn what happened until after they got down to the credit union.

Sara Staley is called to the stand. She is an employee at the credit union. Heather Garraus was her supervisor.

She said she helped Heather during a phone call with a customer on Jan. 23, 2007. The customer was upset that she didn't get a phone call back on her loan application. Heather asked Sara Staley for help talking to the woman who had been turned down because she didn't qualify.

Late in the day she went home, and then got a phone call saying Heather had been shot.

She shed tears on the stand as she recounted the call.

She said she then called the Garraus' house to talk to Ignacio, but their daughter answered. She said she asked if the girl's dad was home.

When Ignacio picked up the phone, Staley said, "Ig, you have to come down to the credit union. He said, 'Why?' I said, 'It's Heather.' He said, 'What happened?' I said, 'I can't tell you, you just need to get down here.'"

Next witness is Matthew Youngs. He was the first officer on the scene. He said he saw a body on the ground.

Confirmed that photos of victim on the ground with a significant amount of blood coming out of her head were fair and accurate depictions of the scene.

Said he talked to Julie Villa and Mindy Maeder and they told him what happened.

When asked if Maeder gave him a name, Youngs said, "Yes." When asked what name, he responded, "Shawna Nelson."

Public Defender asked him how Villa described the suspect and the pickup. He said she told him it was a female in a hooded outfit with a green Ford F-150 with blue license plates.

He said Villa told him she saw hair protruding from under the mask.

Youngs said he retired honorably from the Greeley Police Dept. and is now pursuing a career in aviation.

Testimony has resumed. First witness called is Julie Villa. She was a patron at a bar near the shooting scene. She told the court she saw someone dressed in dark clothing walking in the alley behind the bar. When asked if she saw the red trim on the mask she responded, "I did not see any red, I just saw something covering her face."

She also told the court she saw a pickup leave the scene. She said it was a Ford F-150.

Under questioning by the public defender she said she told the officers the pickup was dark green.


Shawna Nelson Trial Blog Day 1: 911 Tapes Played

Thursday, Feb. 21

7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from the trial.

TheDenverChannel.com

February 22, 2008

The fourth and final witness of the day was a man who was in a nearby bar when the shooting took place. He told the court that he ran outside in back and saw someone in a dark colored pickup peel out. He said he saw the wheels spinning.

During opening statements, Prosecutor Gregory Lammons told jurors they would hear from an expert who measured the tire tracks left at the scene with those of the pickup Heather was driving. He said it was a perfect match. Lammons also said that witness would testify that a piece of gravel lodged in one of the tires matched the scene.

Third witness on the stand is Melinda Maeder a co-worker and friend of Heather Garraus. Maeder said she was 4 feet away from the victim when she was shot.

When the prosecutor asked if she saw the shooting, Maeder answered, "Yes."

When asked where Heather was, Maeder teared up and said, "She was on her knees looking up at me."

Second witness is Nicole Cordova, another one time co-worker of Heather's.

Nicole said that as she, Heather and several employees left the credit union on the night of Jan. 23, 2007 she heard another individual tell Heather, "You ruined my life."

Cordova said two gunshots were fired, and that she ran behind Brad Mitchell's car, and told him to call 911.

After the gunman left, Cordova said she walked back around the car and saw Heather Garraus on the ground. That's when she called 911.

Cordova broke down on the stand when she heard a recording of her own frantic 911 call.

First witness called to the stand is Brad Mitchell, an employee of the credit union where the victim worked.

He related how he, Heather Garraus and several other employees were leaving work the night of Jan. 23, 2007 when they saw someone wearing black approach. He said the individual said, "You've ruined my life, get on the ground." He said ... "That's when I heard two shots go off."

Prosecutors then played a tape of the 911 call. It was a frantic plea for help.

Prosecutor Gregory Lammons told jurors that witnesses at the credit union where the shooting took place saw a figure dressed in black from head to toe.

He said after the shooting, police found a black mask under the seat of the suspect's pickup, and that the mask had Shawna Nelson's DNA on it.

Lammons said a witness who was a good friend of Nelson's will tell them that the suspect confided in her that she wanted (Garraus) dead, and that she would shoot Garraus and try to leave false clues.

Public Defender Annette Kundelius told jurors that Shawna Nelson did not kill Heather Garraus. She said, "We don't know who did, but it couldn't have been Shawna."

Kundelius said someone called the credit union and complained about their loan being denied. She said officers never asked for a list of people who had been denied a loan. They never followed up that angle of the investigation, and focused only on Nelson.

Spoke with two people who were not selected for jury duty.

When asked what it was like sitting through three days of jury selection, Virginia Crawford said, "Well, I feel it's a real responsibility as a citizen to be available for jury duty. It would have been an honor to have been selected."

Richard Price told me, "I would have (served) but I really didn't want to. I would have just because I would want somebody to do it for me if I was charged with a crime."

Jury is seated and sworn in. Judge instructs them to not discuss the case with anyone. Also to not read or view stories about this case.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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