April 6, 2011
For more information, please contact
Michael Guest at (601) 825-1472
Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that William L. Nelson received 20 years to serve for manslaughter and 10 years to serve for using a firearm as a convicted felon, through a plea agreement. The sentences will run consecutively.
On June 9, 2010, Nelson and three of his friends went to the residence of Jeremy Harper, the victim. Nelson and Harper had an altercation earlier in the day in which Nelson alleged that Harper attempted to run him off of the road. Nelson confronted Harper and a verbal altercation ensued. The argument escalated and Nelson produced a gun and fired several shots striking and killing Harper.
Nelson and his friends ran from the scene of the crime. Law enforcement was able to identify Nelson as the shooter based upon an eyewitness who was present when the shooting occurred. That witness, observing the shooting from a few feet away, informed law enforcement that he was with Harper earlier that morning when the victim heard that Nelson was looking for him.
A manhunt began for Nelson that included officers from the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Marshall Service. Nelson turned himself into authorities the following day.
Guest stated, “Nelson has now received the maximum sentence, under the law, for the offenses of manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and will spend decades in jail.
Guest concluded, “Nelson is an individual who took the law into his own hands. Instead of allowing law enforcement to resolve his dispute with the victim, he armed himself and shot Harper.”
Nelson has previously been convicted in Wisconsin and was on probation for that charge at the time of this offense.