California: Felon Shoots Man in Self Defense & Later Set Free

Image from Humbolt County Sheriff's Department cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten.

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- On 2 July, 2020 at about 9:40 a.m., Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. shot an apparently armed robber as he exited the Patriot gas station where Nelson worked as a clerk. It would seem to be a clear justified shooting.

Nelson lied to the police, probably because he is a convicted felon. He was convicted in 2011 of shooting a woman who rammed his vehicle.

He denied shooting the robbery suspect, Jeffrey Allen Kirwan. He denied having a firearm that was found hidden in the store. The firearm had been reported stolen. Nelson had a bullet in his pocket.

He was arrested on 2 July. From kymkemp.com:

Nelson Jr. was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of murder (PC 187(a)), possession of stolen property (PC 496(a)) and convicted felon in possession of a firearm (PC 29800(a)). He is being held without bail pending arraignment.

The community started speaking out in defense of Nelson. He had a great reputation. An attorney agreed to represent Nelson pro-bono. On 7 July 2020, Nelson gave a different statement to investigators. He is reported to have admitted shooting and killing Kirwan but said it was self-defense.

His second statement was consistent with the physical evidence and witness statements. From nothcoastjournal.com:

Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. — a 39-year-old gas station clerk from Eureka — has had quite a week.

A man came to rob the gas station where he worked.

He shot and killed that man, prompting his arrest on suspicion of murder, possessing stolen property and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was booked into Humboldt County Correctional facility without bail and quarantined there for five days.

Then yesterday, in a stunning reversal, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s decided no charges would be filed in the case. Nelson walked free and joined his partner Cynthia Shelton and their 14-year-old daughter for a quiet night at home.

Some claimed that “systemic racism” exists such that a white man wouldn't have gone to jail, in the comments at kymkemp.com:

I have to ask the question. If this man was white (like me) would he be arrested?

Other commenters contest the conjecture, saying that many white men are arrested in similar circumstances.

The discussion about the case shows the ability of the far left to control the narrative is failing in the face of facts and people's experience.

One comment claims there are numerous studies that show how poor people and black people are treated differently than other people in the criminal justice system. They do not address the problem of systemic bias in academia in favor of leftist narratives.

A reasonable question, given the facts of the case, and the current climate: Would a white man in the same circumstances have been treated as well as Mark Anthony Young?

Convicted felons still have the right to self-defense. A clear, easily followed mechanism should be in place so they can legitimately regain there Second Amendment rights, as protected by the Constitution.

Mark Anthony Young has gained the trust of the local community.

Perhaps prosecutors are starting to reconsider the common procedure of charging felons with illegal possession of firearms, even when they have been involved in justified self-defense shootings.

It should, at least, be a mitigating factor.



About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Dragonfly
Dragonfly
14 days ago

After five years, a convicted person can petition the court to regain his/her 2cd Amendment rights. I know one young lady personally that regained her rights and now has a carry [Ga Weapons License] permit and can vote in state and federal elections.

Rock
Rock
17 days ago

The FELON that is NOT permitted to have a firearm EVER…. Is set free.

Stag
Stag
18 days ago

Every arms law is an infringement. Even this one. There are no exceptions or caveats to the 2A. It doesn’t matter what you past crimes are. If you are a free individual you have the RIGHT to keep and bear arms otherwise you’re not really free.

Wow
Wow
19 days ago

Hank Sims / Tuesday, July 26, 2011 @ 12:13 p.m. / News Mark Anthony Nelson Turns Himself In; His Coworker Discusses the Case With John Matthews The Times-Standard reports that Mark Anthony Nelson, the suspect in yesterday’s afternoon shooting in Eureka, has turned himself in. A few moments ago, KSLG’s John Matthews spoke with Marshall Spalding, Nelson’s coworker at the Courthouse Market in downtown Eureka. Spalding tells Matthews that Nelson came into the market shortly after the shooting and worked for about 45 minutes. According to Spalding, Nelson said at the time that his window had been shot out in… Read more »

Wow
Wow
19 days ago

A couple years back I was a survivor of a vehicle trying to run me the off mountain cliffs, I had reached speeds up to 90 miles per hour to get away from this person.
I did not reach for my gun instead when I got signal I called 911 and the California highway patrol was able to intervene this crazy drunk driver..
We all make our choices and we should also be held accountable for our choices…

Country Boy
Country Boy
19 days ago
Reply to  Wow

and if the HWP hadn’t been nearby…you would have been left to do …what ?

Wow
Wow
18 days ago
Reply to  Country Boy

Believe me i tried to him to allow him to run himself off the cliffs by slamming on my brakes when he was coming at me side ways i slammed on my brakes when he was so close you could not see the front of his car I also tried ramming the side of his car. As I told the CHP if they could not stop him i would make sure he would be the on going over the cliffs. I guess the real points to the story is my gun would have been my last resort. I was able… Read more »

Wow
Wow
19 days ago

The 29-year-old, who was appointed a public defender at the arraignment, stands accused of assault with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm within 10 years of conviction. Nelson has had two prior convictions. He was one of three defendants who pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon in 2003, and in 2009 he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault. Judge Marilyn B. Miles explained to Nelson at his arraignment that assault with a firearm is described as a “serious and violent felony” and may count as a strike under California’s Three Strike… Read more »

a.x. perez
a.x. perez
19 days ago

I’m pretty sure the gentleman could beat the murder rap on self-defense and the other charges on necessitas non habet legem. Undoubtedly the Humboldt County DA realized this and walked away from a losing case.
Such things shouldn’t be about race, but hey, it’s 2020.

American Patriot
American Patriot
19 days ago

Felon in possession of a stolen firearm…Bottom line it a Felony Period. Any white guy would of been arrested & jailed, it’s got nothing to do with color it’s the law. Don’t like the law…Change it! But when people spent their life making laws then uphold them if not publish a list of laws that we the people can ignore or what color of people can ignore which laws???

Or just eliminate the law.

MICHAEL J
MICHAEL J
19 days ago

First, I am not soft on crime or punishment.
The Department of Corrections was created to rehabilitate and return to society those individuals who paid their debt. Instead, it’s just another billion dollar government run industry that has a revolving door of clients. Once released and back in society, all rights should have been restored, but we all know that’s not true.
Career criminals will find their way back, but for those that don’t it’s an injustice.
To restrict a citizen’s rights to self-defense is a death sentence that hasn’t been carried out, felon or not.

OldGuy
OldGuy
20 days ago

Everyone should have the lawful right to defend themselves. Are we somehow missing some additional piece of information, that perhaps Mr. Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. is still on-the-hook for using a stolen handgun to defend himself; and how did Mr. Nelson become acquainted with the hidden location of the stolen handgun and trust that it was operational when time was of-the-essence for self defense? What about the legal-registered owner of the stolen gun who has been without their property since after it was reported stolen? In California we have firearm and ammunition laws which are supposed to protect the general… Read more »

Ram
Ram
20 days ago

If a con is deemed “safe enough” to be released back into society,
there should be a process to return said ex-con the status of a whole
and complete citizen. I think society may benefit in the overall, if these
people weren’t forced to live a half-life ever after. Of course, if there are
future crimes they would face an upper tier punishment.

Country Boy
Country Boy
19 days ago
Reply to  Ram

Agreed. In some states they can. Called a “Pardon”. But with multiple armed crimes likely kept him from such relief.

Country Boy
Country Boy
19 days ago
Reply to  Country Boy

I’d also like to see the truth about his previous cases. He may have been forced to plead guilty (whether he was or not) to receive a “plea bargain”/lesser sentence, and done so for lack of good legal representation.

Link
Link
18 days ago
Reply to  Ram

They can ask to have the right restored, it depends upon the state.
But most dont know that.
Fact is he still had a stolen gun.
That’s not something to overlook

Donttreadonme
Donttreadonme
20 days ago

Humans all have the right to self defense, and there is a mechanism in place to have your 2nd Amendment rights restored, its called a Certificate of Relief. Now, it can be costly so it should be much easier for someone to have their rights restored once they have paid their debt to society.

With that said, my only issue here is the double standard because you can damn sure be certain that if it was a poor white ex con that did this he would be up the creek without a paddle.

Finnky
Finnky
20 days ago
Reply to  Donttreadonme

@Dont – Restoration of rights is a state specific process and unless state where you were convicted strikes felony from your record – you will still have federal prohibition. See extensive discussion of the subject by @Jacob (think he had a couple numbers in name as will). This occurred in California. Given California’s general attitude I suspect it is well neigh impossible (if at all) to get 2A rights restored there. While it is easy to imagine, I’m not at all certain that racism played much of a part in this man’s release. Might have happened even if he was… Read more »

uncle dudley
uncle dudley
20 days ago

Selective enforcement of the law is not the way it should be in the country, either overturn the laws on the books or enforce them.
This sends a bad message to the public that some will be held accountable and others get a pass.

Xaun Loc
Xaun Loc
20 days ago
Reply to  uncle dudley

It’s only “selective enforcement” when you don’t like the result.

If you approve of the result it’s just “common sense” or maybe “prosecutorial discretion.”

Finnky
Finnky
20 days ago
Reply to  Xaun Loc

@XL – I think @UD’s point was that stupid laws should be struck down.

Occasionally “selective enforcement” comes in form of jury nullification.

JFCrosby
JFCrosby
20 days ago

“There?” No. It’s “their.”

Cruiser
Cruiser
20 days ago

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Joefriday
Joefriday
20 days ago

I don’t think Dean Weingarten would feel the same if he was the “White Guy” charged for defending himself, regardless of his past Law Enforcement / Military experience! It happens to non felons who tell the truth! Why should skin color excuse someone’s bad Character?

Last edited 20 days ago by Joefriday
Norm
Norm
20 days ago

He had a bullet in his pocket?? Did he take a cartridge apart to get just the bullet?

ForsakenConstitution
ForsakenConstitution
20 days ago
Reply to  Norm

Barney Fife 🙂

Wow
Wow
20 days ago

I totally believe in the right to bear arms for protection, hunting and just for fun…but Mark A. Nelson seems to use them, then lies about it and claims self-defense

Vanns40
Vanns40
20 days ago
Reply to  Wow

There was no “claim” of self defense, it was proven self defense. If there is no restoration of Rights after you’ve served your sentence then society is, effectively, punishing you for life. That is not justice.

Wow
Wow
19 days ago
Reply to  Vanns40

Patriot Gas Station – ASHLEY HARRELL
Ashley Harrell
Patriot Gas Station
Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming has declined to prosecute Patriot Gas Station clerk Mark Anthony Nelson Jr. for killing the man who allegedly robbed the business on the night of July 2, according to a press release from the DA’s office.

“The employee has stated he acted in self-defense,” the press release states.

1 time self-defense 2 times self-defense hummm 4 times I’m not so sure about self defense. Criminal giving gun owners bad rap

Wow
Wow
20 days ago

Guilty plea and prison for Nelson Posted by Heraldo Readers will remember the traffic incident in which a Courthouse Market employee shot out his back window at a vehicle that was repeatedly ramming him from behind at 14th and H Streets in Eureka. Mark Anthony Nelson shot three times and hit the woman driver in the face and arm. Press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office: On Friday, December 02, 2011, Mark Anthony Nelson, 31, of Eureka, pleaded guilty to felony shooting into an occupied vehicle. This was a strike offense as Nelson was a felon in possession… Read more »

Finnky
Finnky
20 days ago
Reply to  Wow

@Wow – So someone attacked him with a deadly weapon and he responded in kind. Seems he should have had a better lawyer in that first case. I don’t know any of the particulars in that case, from what you wrote, shooting her sounds slightly excessive – but only slightly. There is a wide range of circumstances within your description – how hard did she hit him (5mph vs 30+), how many times of what length of time, did he have a cell phone and call 911, had he attempted to drive away or pull over to get her insurance,… Read more »

Chip Saunders
Chip Saunders
20 days ago

This is a VERY incredibly good development. You either have your rights, or you don’t. You either have ALL your rights, or you have NONE. The temporary suspension of one’s rights, Constitutionally speaking, can only be suspended for the duration of one’s sentence. If someone cannot be trusted to own a gun,…why would you ever let them out in the first place? Once you have served your time, you are supposed to be allowed to defend your own life to the same degree as anyone else. Your life is no lesser than the next guy, and vice versa. Freedom is… Read more »

Joefriday
Joefriday
20 days ago
Reply to  Chip Saunders

He served his time but continued in his criminal ways!

Vanns40
Vanns40
20 days ago
Reply to  Joefriday

You have shown your ignorance and continue to do so.

Chip Saunders
Chip Saunders
19 days ago
Reply to  Joefriday

Regardless, self-defense is a right of anyone and everyone.

Grigori
Grigori
20 days ago

Exactly!

Sisu
Sisu
20 days ago

Dean, I am attempting to understand the “point” you want to make, but cannot get past the fact that the Nelson repeatedly “lied” about what happened and the actions he took. If he had “remained silent” and then through his attorney … but he did not. Should Nelson be able to possess and “bear arms” ? … Yes. Should his lying not be impuned ? … No. Lying is fundamentally wrong; and in this context should be punished. (Though I admit I am not certain “how”.) That said I suggest that the incident is better represented as evidence that: i)… Read more »

Tionico
Tionico
19 days ago
Reply to  Sisu

Unless Humboldt COunty has radically changed since I left the place some yars ago, I have strong doubts that the story submitted by the Sheriffs deputies respoding to the shooting is 100% accurate. I had a number of run-ins with LE in that county, both local city coppers (Arcata) and HCSO. The CHP seemed to be of a different breed, and were quite decent. But HCSO were not squeaky clean. I doubt they are now. Ini a small town like Eureka has remained, the Sheriffs woild have known Nelson wel, and his whereabouts, and not have to rin a “make”… Read more »

Grigori
Grigori
20 days ago

Glad the guy walked. First of all, if he shot a woman who rammed him in 2011, how was he convicted? Sounds like self-defense in that case, too. I used to have hypothetical discussions with co-workers regarding what we would do if we ever stepped in s- -t and wound up as a convicted felon who wasn’t supposed to own a gun. Depending on circumstances and probability of a pardon, we ran from keeping a couple of percussion revolvers handy, to going for the gusto and just having a real gun as the real thugs do. Life as an unarmed… Read more »

Papa J
Papa J
20 days ago
Reply to  Grigori

I think a life time ban is a little overboard. After a certain length of time without any more run ins with the law, not to include minor traffic offenses, a convicted felon who has served his entire sentence should have all his rights reinstated. How long you might ask? Hell if I know!? But more than 5yrs. less than 20yrs.

Darkman
Darkman
21 days ago

I have to admit. I got this from another web poster. It is a great example of the left’s attempt to control the narrative. The Dichotomy of the troubled Liberal Mind: ~ If a dude pretends to be a woman, you are required to pretend with him ~ Somehow it’s un-American and racist for the census to count how many Americans are in America ~ Foreign interference in our elections is bad, but illegal aliens voting in our elections is good. ~ Crowded, violent “protests” are encouraged, but singing in church is a public health violation ~ Sexualizing children is… Read more »

GUNFUN
GUNFUN
21 days ago
Reply to  Darkman

I am going to save this.