Woman Seeks to Withdraw Guilty Plea in Death of Disabled Daughter
ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- A Paynesville woman who pleaded guilty to murdering her disabled daughter is now trying to withdraw her guilty plea.
Thirty-eight-year-old Elise Nelson pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree intentional murder in October.
In a motion filed in Stearns County District Court, Nelson's new lawyer is claiming Nelson was coerced into signing the plea petition and didn't have adequate time to review the document. They also argue that she had ineffective counsel, was fully expecting to go to trial, and was too shocked to speak up.
The child had chronic respiratory failure and severe developmental delay from the loss of oxygen at birth.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Stearns County District Court, Nelson was alone with her daughter over four days in June 2020 disabled an oxygen monitoring device, and deprived her of medical care.
Nelson was alone with the girl while her husband was on a fishing trip and her other child was staying at a family friend's house. During that time, she was accused of silencing the alarm on a pulse oximeter device and manipulating the machine's settings multiple times before ultimately shutting it off.
The device monitors blood oxygen and pulse rate and sounds an alarm when the patient's oxygen saturation level or pulse rate drops below 90%.
On the morning of June 21st, 2020, the family friend tried to reach Nelson through phone calls and text messages that she was going to drop off Nelson's other daughter at home. The calls and text messages went unanswered.
The friend then drove to Nelson's home to drop the child off but the doors were locked and the shades were pulled.
Later that afternoon, Nelson allegedly returned a text that she had just finished performing CPR and was waiting for the police. Court records show Nelson didn't call 911 until approximately 20 minutes after that text message was sent.
Police arrived to find the child on the living room floor and cold to the touch. She was brought to Paynesville Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
An autopsy later determined Nelson deprived the child of care resulting in death and the manner of death was homicide.
Nelson told police she had performed CPR on the child for an hour but officers noted her story was inconsistent with a person exerting herself for 60 minutes while performing CPR.
The judge presiding over the case has 90 days to rule on the motion to withdraw the plea.
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