Shawna Nelson Found Guilty In
Automatic Sentence Of Life Without Parole Given
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
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
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
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,
Ignacio Garraus left the justice center without
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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,"
He said the jury can "believe the defendant or
the rest of the evidence ... because they are diametrically
"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
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
Two witnesses saw the defendant get in it and
"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
"She couldn't keep that story straight," Riedel
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"What ax do these two witnesses have to grind?"
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
Lammons said that when she learned Heather had
left home, after learning about the affair, she thought, "Here's
"What does she do? she calls the credit union,"
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
"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
"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?
"You don't have an identical twin?" Lammons
"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?"
"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
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
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.
"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
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
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
"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
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
"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
"No, her boyfriend died in a plane crash,"
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
"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
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
"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
"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
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
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
She said she admitted sending a text message to
Heather's phone which said, "If you're reading this U r a psycho
"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
"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
"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
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
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
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
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
"Did you ever call anyone to see if she was at
the bank?" the public defender asked.
Shawna responded, "No, I already knew she
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,"
"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
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
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.
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
The found no hair on floor or floor mats of
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
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
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
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
Then she started accusing many other people.
After accusing Ignacio for several months, she then started to
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
Numerous calls were made between Dec. 9 and
Det. Mike Prill/Greeley Police Dept. is
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
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
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
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
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
She said, "I don't know Ken, I don't remember
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
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
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
That juror is replaced by an alternate.
Nelson Trial Blog: Forensic
Experts Link Casings To Gun
Feb. 27: Shawna Nelson Vented Frustration At
7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Paige said she remembers a phone call between
Ken and Shawna, with Shawna telling him she didn't love him
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
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,
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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,
Moore said Shawna said, "If you get a phone
call from me tomorrow saying, 'I'm taking a bath,' then you know I
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
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
She says she was aware of Shawna's relationship
with Ignacio Garraus because Shawna confided in her about her
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
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
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
"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
"There was some name calling of Heather
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Defendant's husband, Ken Nelson, takes the
He says he has been married to Shawna for 12
years. They have three children -- Dillon, 9; Jordan, 7; and
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
He tried to get Ignacio's parental rights
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
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
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
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
Public defender asked, "Do you recall saying
that Shawna Nelson wasn't wearing shoes, but she was wearing
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
Shawna Nelson was stopped in the 6500 block of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
7NEWS Reporter Lance Hernandez is blogging from
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Cross examination continues.
Public defender asks Ignacio if his father knew
about Christian (the infant son) before Heather did. Ignacio said
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
He met her at a hotel in Denver before he and
his family went on vacation in Florida. Never told investigator
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
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
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
Prosecutor: Did she ask you to go anywhere?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.