Date of scheduled
execution: November 16, 1999 - stayed
The Illinois Supreme
Court has upheld the death penalty of a Wayne City, Ill., man convicted
of killing his ex-wife and her 13-year-old daughter.
Niels Christian Nielsen
is now set to die by lethal injection on Nov. 16, pending further
Nielsen is on death row
at the Menard Correctional facility at Chester, Ill., for the July 4,
1995, shooting death of his ex-wife, Sue Marshel, and her daughter,
The Supreme Court
rejected Nielsen's contention that the trial court erred in denying his
motion to suppress evidence gathered from a burn pile at the home of his
mother and stepfather.
Nielsen was convicted
of shooting both victims in the head, burning their bodies on a trash
pile, stuffing their remains in a gym bag, and tossing them in a farm
pond. The court also rejected Nielsen's argument that a confession he
gave to a Wayne County sheriff's deputy was improperly obtained.
During a casual
conversation with Wayne County Sheriff's Deputy Blake Adams in the jail
exercise yard, Nielsen started talking about the case. Deputy Adams
stopped the discussion, and turned Nielsen over to state police, who
took a formal statement about the killings.
also argued that he should not have received the death penalty because
he was absent from court when Judge Loren Lewis read the sentence. Under
Illinois law, a defendant has a right to be present at his sentencing.
In Nielsen's case,
security officers removed him from the Lawrence County Circuit Courtroom
because he shouted obscenities at court officials and overturned tables.
Lewis gave Nielsen several opportunities to stop the disruptive behavior
and rejoin the sentencing hearing, but he declined.