DUBOIS -The timeline of events that occurred on Aug. 21, 2015 on Brown Street in DuBois are detailed in the affidavit of Joshua Nelson.
Nelson, 31, is charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, burglary, resisting arrest, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving and criminal attempt for his actions that day that included the death of a DuBois woman who was mowing her lawn.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed with District Judge Patrick Ford, several witnesses and victims were interviewed regarding what they saw that day. The following is a summary of their accounts.
8 a.m.: Nelson’s grandfather drove Nelson and his girlfriend to Penn Highlands DuBois. The two sat talking in his truck as they waited for the woman.
Nelson became fidgety and got in and out of the truck numerous times. He said Nelson had been acting funny and got worse as the day went on.
He noted that Nelson had recently been released from a mental health facility and was on medication. He said Nelson had taken his medication prior to leaving his home that morning.
Nelson left the truck and went into the hospital. Later he saw Nelson walk in front of the Medical Arts Building and then up into a field behind the building. The field is adjacent to Brown Street.
Nelson’s grandfather went into the hospital and was told Nelson had been acting strange and caused problems. Hospital security was now looking for him.
12:27 p.m.: Police received a call from a resident reporting a suspicious male on his property. The male was seen in the caller’s back yard violently shaking a back gate that was secured with a bungee cord. This resident felt threatened enough that he retrieved a firearm for protection.
12:34 p.m.: 911 received a call from Victim No. 1’s husband who reported a vehicle had struck a person but he hung up quickly.
In an interview with police, he explained that he and his wife were taking turns mowing their lawn. He was sitting down on the side porch steps, taking a break while his wife was mowing when he saw a younger male running on Brown Street.
As the male came up on the intersection, he knelt down, wiped his head and looked around. He then looked up Brown Street, which was the direction he had just traveled.
He said it was as if the male was “being chased.” Next, he ran diagonal to the house on the corner and grabbed onto a maple tree, still acting strangely. The man then ran to the front door of that residence for a few seconds, then crossed the yard and went around to the back where he lost sight of him.
A nearby resident, Victim No. 2, said he returned to his house to pick up his work identification. He parked his U.S. Government car, got his ID out of his other vehicle and then went inside his house.
A short time later, Victim No. 1’s husband saw a vehicle come out of the driveway of a nearby residence. It was going at a high rate of speed. The car headed directly into the lawn where his wife was still mowing.
He said he heard his wife scream. In an instant, he saw the mower overturned and his wife was missing. He said there was no way she could have gotten out of the way. He ran toward the car yelling for his wife. The car door opened and the same man he had seen earlier got out flailing his arms and ran away.
Victim No. 3 told police that she was visiting with friends at her home on Brown Street when one friend, Victim No. 4, went to get something out of her vehicle.
Victim No. 4 reported that when she opened the door to her vehicle, she heard a voice and then saw a man sitting in the driver’s seat of the Victim No. 3’s vehicle. She asked him what he was doing. He then came at her and punched her in the face.
She said she prayed out loud for help. The man replied something like “I’ll help you.” He struck her multiple times before he pulled her toward the residence.
Victim No. 3 was concerned when her friend did not return to her home. At this point, she heard sirens and saw an ambulance go by her house. She walked to the door where she could see a man and Victim No. 4 with blood on their faces.
The man saw her, let go of her friend and came after her. The man entered the door into her residence, grabbed her and then struck her in the face with a closed fist. She fell to the floor. She was unsure of how many times she was struck.
Victim No. 4 told police she thought the man was going to kill Victim No. 3.
When Victim No. 2 left his nearby residence, he saw his car was gone. He then realized his car had been stolen and was now across the street in the yard.
After he heard screams further up the street, he ran to that area and helped police and the neighbors to subdue the man.
When another officer arrived on Brown Street, he saw emergency fire personnel who directed him to a driveway where people were screaming “over here” and “he’s out of control.”
This officer saw one female who was bleeding, and then he saw a man and woman struggling to gain control of a man who was on the ground. Both of these people informed the officer that this man had attacked someone and there was a woman underneath a car at the end of the street.
The man who had a gash on his head was very combative and covered in blood. The officer tried to calm him down, but he refused to be handcuffed and became more violent. He began yelling “did I kill her? Did I kill her?” While he continued to fight the officer, he screamed, “kill me! Kill me!”
The man, later identified as Nelson, had to be tased twice before they could get him in an ambulance to be taken to Penn Highlands DuBois for treatment.
An officer who rode with him stated that Nelson began thrashing back and forth with his legs. Eventually he was able to pull his legs from underneath the bed restraints and lift both legs upward in close proximity to the officer’s head.
Nelson put one of his legs over the top of the officer’s head, as he then tried to wrap his other leg and chain around the officer’s neck, but the officer was able to free himself. When they arrived at the hospital, other officers were there to help get Nelson out of the vehicle.
While they were at the hospital, security reported that this male was the same one who was causing a disturbance there earlier in the day.
DNA taken from the stolen car matched Nelson’s DNA.
The “black box” from Victim No. 2’s stolen U.S. Government vehicle was examined by investigators. It was determined that at the time of the crash, the accelerator pedal was depressed at 99 percent.
The information retrieved revealed that Nelson backed the vehicle up, and then drove in a straight direction toward Betsy Andryka, striking her in her front yard. The speed at the time of the collision was 30 to 34 miles per hour.
The autopsy revealed that the victim’s cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries.
The Victim No. 4 suffered injuries to her nose, lip, and left cheek. Victim No. 3 had a bruised lip and was bleeding, according to an officer. The right side of her face was bruised and she had additional bruising on her elbow, arm, back. She also had soreness to the back of her head.
At the time of the incident, Nelson was on probation for a criminal trespass case from 2014 and a burglary case from 2013. He was also awaiting a preliminary hearing in two other cases from July of 2015.
One of these cases was continued because he was admitted to a mental hospital in Clarion. On July 31, 2015, Nelson was charged in another case and at that time said he thought he left the hospital too soon and would like to be admitted back to the facility. Nelson was transported to an area hospital where he spoke with a mobile crisis worker.
For more information on these cases, click here.
Nelson has been incarcerated since he was taken into custody in DuBois on Aug. 12, 2015 and is currently serving a state prison sentence for violating his probation. His preliminary hearing on the new charges is scheduled for Oct. 21.