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Niels Christian NIELSEN





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: July 4, 1995
Date of birth: September 12, 1973
Victims profile: His ex-wife, Sue Marshel, and her daughter, Melinda, 13
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Illinois, USA
Status: Sentenced to death 1996. Commuted to life

Date of scheduled execution: November 16, 1999 - stayed

The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty of a Wayne City, Ill., man convicted of killing his ex-wife and her 13-year-old daughter.

Niels Christian Nielsen is now set to die by lethal injection on Nov. 16, pending further appeals.

Nielsen is on death row at the Menard Correctional facility at Chester, Ill., for the July 4, 1995, shooting death of his ex-wife, Sue Marshel, and her daughter, Melinda.

The Supreme Court rejected Nielsen's contention that the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence gathered from a burn pile at the home of his mother and stepfather.

Nielsen was convicted of shooting both victims in the head, burning their bodies on a trash pile, stuffing their remains in a gym bag, and tossing them in a farm pond. The court also rejected Nielsen's argument that a confession he gave to a Wayne County sheriff's deputy was improperly obtained.

During a casual conversation with Wayne County Sheriff's Deputy Blake Adams in the jail exercise yard, Nielsen started talking about the case. Deputy Adams stopped the discussion, and turned Nielsen over to state police, who took a formal statement about the killings.

Nielsen's attorneys also argued that he should not have received the death penalty because he was absent from court when Judge Loren Lewis read the sentence. Under Illinois law, a defendant has a right to be present at his sentencing.

In Nielsen's case, security officers removed him from the Lawrence County Circuit Courtroom because he shouted obscenities at court officials and overturned tables. Lewis gave Nielsen several opportunities to stop the disruptive behavior and rejoin the sentencing hearing, but he declined.



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