Simon Peter Nelson - 1978 Murders - U...
Michele

United States

#43 Jul 6, 2011
Tony wrote:
Ed,
If you can send me your email address I would be willing to discuss SPN before he married Ann and moved to Rockford; I am Tony Nelson his eldest from his first marriage to Catherine. What resulted in the ultimate form of child abuse with the tragedy in Rockford, began in our home in Indianapolis.
[email protected]
Tony--I lived on the 1800 block of Camp Ave. and delivered newspapers at 0530 the morning of the murders. While it was barely daylight and every other house on that cold Saturday morning in January was still dark in slumber, every light in the Nelson home was on. I thought it strange but being only 13 didn't think of the tragedy that occurred behind those doors..........My family was intricately woven into the fabric of the Nelson family's lives before and after the murders. I would be interested in sharing information. My memories of that day and time are as vivid as if they happened yesterday. I now live not far from where the children are buried and visit their graves every summer. I wonder what happened to Ann.
Michele

United States

#44 Jul 6, 2011
I lived on the 1800 block also and was in 8th grade at that time. What was your family name?
JWS

Rockford, IL

#45 Jul 6, 2011
For Ed in MD who's writing a book -- Ed, I am curious as to whether or not you accessed the trial transcript as part of your research.

Ann told me after the trial was over that her attorney had seen to it that the trial transcript would be sealed so no one would ever have access to it in order to write a book. However, in this age of freedom of information I would think that the transcript would be available. I tried several years ago to get a copy but was just given the run around in the County Clerk's office and didn't pursue it after that.

In any case, I fail to see how you write a very accurate book without it.
Ed in Columbia Maryland

AOL

#46 Jul 12, 2011
Michele wrote:
I lived on the 1800 block also and was in 8th grade at that time. What was your family name?
Hi Michele ~

If your [maiden] or last name in the late 1970's was "Lawson," you may know who I am, as my mother both watched you and your 2 sisters (and a brother?) before/after school (at St. Pete's), and she also hit your Grandfather's car in the Eagle Foods grocery store that was open on N. Main Street at the time. If you write to my Email address, I'll gladly discuss anything of and pertaining to life for us all on Camp Avenue back in those days. I knew virtually everyone on the 1800 block since we lived there for 9 years, and if I'm correct, your family moved into the Harmon's old home (they moved to the other side of the block on Harlem Blvd. Prior to living on Camp Avenue, your family may have lived diagonally from Walker Elementary School (the SE corner of Sherman St. & Post Ave.). I have a nearly eidetic memory so forgive my details for some things. If you were a member of the family who lived on the Douglas Street side of the 1800 block of Camp Avenue, your last name escapes me for the moment. The former Harmon home was directly across the street from the Pikes, where Jeff, Jill, & Jonathon lived, and there was a family with a daughter who lived next door to the Harmons too. They moved from Camp Avenue before the incident. Apparently you were 1 year behind me and 1 year ahead of Wes. If you went to Walker and then Roosevelt Jr. High (no longer a school) you may not have known my family that well. My father was the Cub Scout leader (Pack 37) for St. Peter's Cathedral School. To reach me and discuss history or the case further, please write to the following: [email protected] I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks!
Ed in Columbia Maryland

AOL

#47 Jul 12, 2011
JWS wrote:
For Ed in MD who's writing a book -- Ed, I am curious as to whether or not you accessed the trial transcript as part of your research.
Ann told me after the trial was over that her attorney had seen to it that the trial transcript would be sealed so no one would ever have access to it in order to write a book. However, in this age of freedom of information I would think that the transcript would be available. I tried several years ago to get a copy but was just given the run around in the County Clerk's office and didn't pursue it after that.
In any case, I fail to see how you write a very accurate book without it.
Hello JWS (and also JWS1 ?)~

Please accept my apologies for not getting back to your previous posts sooner. I was working overseas [unexpectedly] for a few months. Allow me to begin by offering apologies to anyone who tried using the link shared in my original "post." Even if the link doesn't work, one can GOOGLE key words related to the subject or try typing (or even copying and pasting) the link into one's toolbar / navigation bar. As for my Email address, it's the same and I wish to thank those of you who have contacted me over time, sharing what you've personally experienced. I also look forward to meeting several of you (readers and Bloggers both) when I'm in Rockford (for both continued work on my book and to attend the 1981 Boylan Central Catholic High's 30th Class Reunion) in early August! I also accept responsibility for the error in Father Wentnik's name. For those of you who do not recall, he was the Rockford Police Department's Chaplain, who along with social workers, psychologists, and priests from the Cathedral of St. Peter, dealt with distraught emergency responders, case officers, families, students, and friends close to the tragedy. I also have no idea how my "post" was printed twice! I hope I've covered all of the previous matters.

Now then, there are many questions about "Ann," and what she may have said/done during, and after the case. She's still alive, changed her name, moved on with her life, and now lives very far away from Rockford/Illinois. She avoids all contact with any person(s) seeking to interview her regarding the tragedy and case. She wanted nothing to do with the matter other than to see that justice be served for her kids.[Note: Her expressions, clothing choices, and testimony were very "peculiar" during the trial.] Also, once she divorced Simon P. Nelson, she no longer had "legal standing" in the trial of her ex-husband. Trials in the United States are a matter of public record - they have to be. Sadly, like you experienced, court records, evidence, etc., to high profile cases get "misplaced" over the years. Items end up in the hands of specialized collectors - sad. The run around you received is legendary and fortunately, I have access to others who have various records, transcripts, and private documents written by officers of the court [from the case], but anything sealed is long gone. Further, Simon P. Nelson was also an adult at the time of his crime. His trial, news coverage, and court proceedings are a matter of public record. The ONLY information that was sealed were his psychiatric/medical information. The judge did seal some of that material. Even if a "certified trial transcript" wasn't available (one was for the "perfected, legal appeals" of his sentence - all later rejected), non-certified, and daily records from court reporters and journalists were available to various persons. The use of multiple sources (and vigorous cross-checking) is what's key to providing a thorough and objective analysis (if one is possible) of the case. If you'd like to discuss the case further, please feel free to contact me at my Email address: [email protected] Also, if you recall from my initial post, my book does not focus on the trial details, per se. I hope I've clarified a few things for you and any other interested person(s).

Thanks!
Ed in Columbia Maryland

AOL

#49 Jul 12, 2011
Tony wrote:
Ed,
If you can send me your email address I would be willing to discuss SPN before he married Ann and moved to Rockford; I am Tony Nelson his eldest from his first marriage to Catherine. What resulted in the ultimate form of child abuse with the tragedy in Rockford, began in our home in Indianapolis.
[email protected]
Hi Tony ~

I Emailed you a while back and never heard from you. Perhaps my Email went to your SPAM folder or maybe you accidentally deleted it. I'll resend it today, but wanted you to know that I tried to contact you once I got back to the book project. I look forward to hearing from you further! [email protected]

Best regards!
S Kleba

Rockford, IL

#50 Aug 18, 2011
CBrown wrote:
I was an eleven year old child who was playing with two of his sons the day before he took their lives. I have never forgotten that day. His children did not have a choice to live, he should make the choice to stay in prison. I do not feel that he deserves his freedom.
My sisters and I went to the same school with these children... My sister was friends with one of the girls... I was 5 and in kindergarten but I still remember this awful event.... he should never get out... he hurt his own and had no remorse then, why should he be free when those kids never got a chance to live.
Pete Borchmann

Hollywood, FL

#51 Sep 21, 2011
I had the biggest crush on Jennifer when I was a boy. Ironically, as hockey players we had to take figure skating lessons from her mother. I saw her father the day before the family was killed. I look back and wish there was something I could have done. He should rot in hell.
Kelly Hampton

Paducah, KY

#52 Oct 29, 2011
I was a classmate of simons when we attended P.E. Walker Elementary. I used to play with him. I even went to his house one time to play. when I was leaving i fell off of my bike and cut my foot real bad. his father carried me all the way home. I lived across from the school and he lived about 4 blocks or so down the road from the school. so when mother told me that they all had been murdered I was so very upset. At the time of their deaths i was living in caledonia. Even after all these years, I still cant believe the man could do such a thing. He should NEVER, NEVER get out of prison.
Kelly Hampton

Paducah, KY

#53 Oct 29, 2011
I am sorry for your loss. even after all these years i know it still hurts. It still bothers me. I use to play with your uncle simon. he was a good boy. And as for your grandfather I would never have believe in a million years he could have done such a thing, only because when i was leaving one day after being at their house i fell off of my bike and cut my foot really bad and your grandfather carried me all the way home. and i lived up on sherman ave. that was about 4 or more blocks if my memory serves me right. I lived across the street from P.E.Walker Elementary School. Your uncle simon and Uncle Andrew came over to play with me one time on the play ground. I had moved to caledonia when i heard about their deaths. i was trully upset when my mom told me. I just couldnt believe it until i watched it the news. And I agree with everyone else, the horrible man should not ever get out.
Very sad wrote:
I am Pete Nelsons grandson and I have never even met my grandfather nor do I ever want to.I have read all the articles about what he did to my aunts and uncles and have personally seen how it has impacted his other children that are still living,including my mother.It has left a wound that can never be healed by anything he says or tries to do.I never even got to know my aunts and uncles because of his brutal selfish act that snuffed out thier lives.But I do believe that they are in heaven,enjoying eternal life with Christ our Lord!!Peter Nelson,my grandfather,should never be allowed to see freedom.he should feel lucky hes still alive and didnt fry for what he did to my family...May god have mercy on his soul...
Dan Phillips

Joliet, IL

#54 Feb 19, 2012
I worked for the funeral home that handled the service of the children. That SOB should have never seen the light of the next morning!
Ed in Columbia Maryland

AOL

#55 Feb 19, 2012
Dan Phillips wrote:
I worked for the funeral home that handled the service of the children. That SOB should have never seen the light of the next morning!
Hi Dan ~

If you worked in the funeral home, then no doubt you'll always be tremendously impacted by the horrific crime committed against these six innocent children (& family dog) and you may have seen first-hand, exactly what happened to each. UGH! I wish all of this could be undone, that the children were never harmed, that we never heard of such a case, and that if there was any violence, it have been self-inflicted (SPN's suicide). He was cowardly, however, cruel, and most deliberate in his actions, trying to punish Ann for daring to leave him and then pretended to not remember a thing about it. As both a psychology and political science professional, I understand the phenomena of white outs and black outs. Even in such states, there is recall afterwards. In general, I agree that SPN should suffer harshly for his crimes and I once believed that SPN should have been put to death (especially so in 1982 when he married Jewell Friend in 1982 in jail), but it's clear by his continued attempts to gain parole that his life in prison has been terrible and he's miserable. I'm glad! A person who receives six 100 - 200 year sentences should never get out. He does not deserve to breathe outside prison walls - EVER! Because I do believe in a life after this one, I know his ultimate suffering awaits. For now, however, the best thing to do is to keep making sure that he remains where he his - behind bars and as unhappy and uncomfortable as possible. It's unfortunate that you and your co-workers had to prepare the bodies of the children. I (and other readers) know you all did your very best for them and I'm sure that many who read these pages thank you for your role in laying them to rest. It was all so senseless and given his age, SPN will face ultimate judgment very, very soon.
A Family Friend

Rockford, IL

#56 Feb 19, 2012
So Ed -- when is your book going to be published?
Ed in Columbia Maryland

AOL

#57 Feb 22, 2012
A Family Friend wrote:
So Ed -- when is your book going to be published?
Thank you for asking, as the book is very close to being completed. However, before the manuscript is submitted to my publisher, I wish to include what I believe would be two sets of information sources who will offer unique perspectives. Out of respect for their privacy, I will neither name the parties nor state what contributions they'll make in an open forum such as this. Naturally, Rockford's community scars are deep and emotions run high from/regarding this case. The posts above evidence this fact. Feel free to write to me directly at my Email address below if interested in private correspondence and/or if you'd like a 'heads up' when the final draft heads off to New York City. I can be reached at the following Email address: [email protected]
Anon

Puyallup, WA

#58 Jun 3, 2012
Just an FYI before publishing... It is Father Wentink, not Wentnik. Difficult memories to relive to be sure, but may we never forget... Good luck on your book.
Ed in Columbia Maryland wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for asking, as the book is very close to being completed. However, before the manuscript is submitted to my publisher, I wish to include what I believe would be two sets of information sources who will offer unique perspectives. Out of respect for their privacy, I will neither name the parties nor state what contributions they'll make in an open forum such as this. Naturally, Rockford's community scars are deep and emotions run high from/regarding this case. The posts above evidence this fact. Feel free to write to me directly at my Email address below if interested in private correspondence and/or if you'd like a 'heads up' when the final draft heads off to New York City. I can be reached at the following Email address: [email protected]
Lisa

Cartersville, GA

#59 Jul 23, 2012
squiggly line-annonomous wrote:
the house those poor inocent children were killed is now for sale , i disagree with most of you becaus his kids were suffering and not being cared for well my mother use to go to a day care with rose and david the two younger kids and their living conditions were bruitly ridicilious they should let him go because he killed his kids out of love because he could not watch them suffer god have mercy on him
That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard...those children were well loved and well cared for...their mother was and is a dear, dear friend...Jennifer (the oldest) was like a sister to me, and all of the children were smart and happy. Pete warped into some type of evil, self obsessed creature who brutally killed his children with a hunting knife and hammer while an unsuspecting houseguest slept, then drove to where his wife was staying overnight on business and - after bragging about what he'd done, attempted to kill her, too. He is an animal, and I'm sorry he hasn't died yet.
Shame on you for spreading such hateful, ignorant lies. And your mother? I suspect she was/is a sick gossip and liar, just trying to make herself important by trashing the reputation of a wonderful, woman who is the only surviving victim of this man.
Judy

Rockford, IL

#60 Jul 23, 2012
Lisa wrote:
<quoted text>
That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard...those children were well loved and well cared for...their mother was and is a dear, dear friend...Jennifer (the oldest) was like a sister to me, and all of the children were smart and happy. Pete warped into some type of evil, self obsessed creature who brutally killed his children with a hunting knife and hammer while an unsuspecting houseguest slept, then drove to where his wife was staying overnight on business and - after bragging about what he'd done, attempted to kill her, too. He is an animal, and I'm sorry he hasn't died yet.
Shame on you for spreading such hateful, ignorant lies. And your mother? I suspect she was/is a sick gossip and liar, just trying to make herself important by trashing the reputation of a wonderful, woman who is the only surviving victim of this man.
Lisa - Did you live in Wisconsin back then, skate with Jennifer,take lessons from Ann, and live with the Nelsons in the summer? If so, I remember you as a young girl. I lived down the street and my daughter skated and took lessons from Ann. I've wondered many times about you and your little sister if you are who I think you are.
Lisa

Cartersville, GA

#61 Jul 23, 2012
Hi Judy,
No, I'm afraid I'm not the person you are talking about. I lived in Beloit, and my parents were close friends with Pete and Ann (they lived in Beloit before moving to Rockford). She is the strongest person I know, and I love her. I probably should have just left well enough alone, but that comment made me nuts :/
Ed in Columbia Maryland

AOL

#62 Jul 24, 2012
Today I write to thank all of you who have expressed well wishes on the book project, whether here or in private Emails. I also want assure you all that I certainly know the correct spelling of "Father William Wentink's" last name. Yes, I erred in an earlier post (or two), and until last fall, he retired after 40 years as Chaplain to the Rockford Police and Fire Departments. Unfortunately, such errors can happen in these posts with small, gray print and a bit of carelessness on my part. Mea culpa!
On another note, I also wish to apologize to those with whom I've corresponded, either here or in private, for the lengthy delay/s in getting my book completed. It was just last August in fact, that I decided to virtually scrap the previous focus and take up an entirely different approach, following two lines of inquiry regarding the impact of the family tragedy on individuals and the community at large. Unfortunately, I've also had over 10 months of [at times] debilitating physical pain and suffering, caused by an accidental fall down a flight of stairs. It is therefore my intention to pick up the project where I left off and move along as quickly as I am able. For those of you who are awaiting a personal contact, I'll be in touch shortly. It's simply taken me longer to get back on my feet (figuratively and literally) than I anticipated. As for unusual or provocative posts in this forum, I'm content to leave commentary to others who interacted with family members directly and care to do so. Again, I can be reached directly at [email protected]
Ed in Columbia Maryland

AOL

#64 Aug 14, 2012
Ralph wrote:
Lisa: what do you mean "while an unsuspecting houseguest slept". Was someone else in the home when the children were killed?
Hi Ralph! Please allow me to offer some answers to this question, since other readers may not be aware of certain facts about the case. Due to the "character limits," I'll have to piost the reply in three or more submissions.

To begin with, Simon "Peter" Nelson (SPN) was tried and convicted of six (06) counts of filicide. Filicide is the deliberate act of a parent killing his (or her) own son/s and/or daughter/s. The word filicide derives from the Latin words filius meaning "son" or filia meaning "daughter" and the suffix -cide meaning "to kill, murder, or cause death." "A filicide" may also refer to the parent who killed his or her child/ren as well as to the criminal act itself. Parricide, however, is the deliberate act of an individual killing their father (patricide), mother (matricide), or other close relative, but neither infant child/ren (Infanticide) nor non-infant child/ren (Filicide). I digressed here for clarification's sake.

As evidenced in the trial transcripts, "SPN" had a very busy Friday afternoon and evening. He received a call between 3:00 - 3:30 PM from Mr. Karl Winkler, who was both a family friend and Ann's attorney. In that call, Mr. Winkler informed SPN that Ann (who was already spending the weekend out of town in Milwaukee, WI to [ostensibly]"clear her head," [with SPN's knowledge & consent]) had indeed, decided to file for a divorce upon her return. "He [SPN]," according to Mr. Winkler, "did not take the news well at all." After hanging up from that fateful call, he immediately phoned his boss at the employment agency, seeking an advance on his wages in order to, as he put it, "to go to Milwaukee to wine and dine Ann," in an apparent last-ditch effort to convince her that a divorce was not the right thing to do. In that call, he even spoke of his desire to start his employment agency locally. Later that night (see below), they met so SPN could get the advanced funds and during their brief encounter, SPN appeared confident that he could yet influence Ann's decision-making. His boss also testified that SPN seemed "upbeat, in good spirits, and very optimistic about being able to rescue his marriage." In cross-examination, he testified, however, that SPN never mentioned to him that Ann's attorney had called nor did he inform him that Ann had [apparently] already made a final decision regarding their marriage.

When SPN returned home from a few errands later that afternoon, the kids were playing about the house and Jenny even had a friend over, which was not unusual for her on a cold, Friday afternoon (shortly after school) in January. After checking in on all the kids about the house, he called his very good friend, Mr. Douglas Hamm, and asked him to come over in order to, as Mr. Hamm put it "babysat the kids while he ran [lengthy] errands later that evening." Mr. Hamm noted that he told SPN something along the lines that he'd be over after he made a couple of stops first and he arrived at the Nelson home in the early evening. In the meantime, Mr. Winkler, who was unable to reach Nelson when he tried calling back on several occasions [between 3/3:30 PM & 8:00 PM CST], grew more and more concerned about how SPN took the news regarding Ann's decision to file for the divorce, so he decided to stop over. He told the court that he arrived shortly after 8:00 PM, and that Mr. Hamm was there too. Mr. Winkler specifically testified, "Upon my arrival, I found him [SPN] to be in, seemingly good spirits, taking care of the children, and was feeding them a late dinner, etc." "Consequently," he added, "I left very shortly after my arrival."

Mr. Hamm told several people that SPN left the house around 9:00 PM, and he was quite specific about a scene he witnessed when he first arrived at the house...

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