PALMER — A man convicted for a May 2011 shooting that killed a Trapper Creek man was sentenced Wednesday to serve 99 years in prison.
Jeremy Nelson, 38, maintains he didn’t shoot Bob Carey or his wife, Verna Carey. Bob Carey died, Verna Carey was injured. Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Beverly Cutler gave Nelson 75 years for murder and 24 for attempted murder for 99 years total.
“This man should never be allowed to be free again ever,” Cutler said, noting Nelson’s lack of remorse and inability to think, feel and behave like a person deserving of freedom.
That was certainly the sentiment of Verna Carey and one of her daughters, Laura Carey.
“I just want to make sure that this sort of thing never happens to anyone else by his hands,” Verna Carey said.
Laura Carey, for her part, asked the court to imagine finding out that “the man you have worshipped your whole life is lying face down in his driveway with a bullet in his chest.”
She said she has trouble feeling safe in her own home now, her children are having trouble dealing with the loss of their grandfather, and that since the trial, she’s become estranged from Verna.
“You totally destroyed my family,” she said.
Prior to Cutler’s ruling, Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalytiak argued the shooting was planned and premeditated. He said Nelson brought two guns to the slaying. He wore snowshoes to get to the Careys’ cabin easier. He unplugged their generator so they’d come outside.
Planned killings like that, Kalytiak said, are the most serious kinds of murders the law recognizes.
He noted that if Nelson chooses to continue to assert his innocence, he also chooses not to show remorse and not to help the court find some kind of a reading on whether he is amenable to rehabilitation.
By making that choice, Kalytiak said, Nelson leaves the court with just the evidence to consider. And the evidence is damning.
“This was just a cold-blooded killing,” Kalytiak said at the hearing.
He asked for 144 years of prison time.
Nelson’s attorney, Jeff Bradley, said it was difficult to recommend a sentence since Nelson maintains he is innocent.
“I’ve had enough clients lie to me that what he says isn’t going to convince me,” Bradley said.
But this case is different, he said. Even after a long trial, Bradley said he still has strong doubts as to Nelson’s guilt.
Still, Bradley said, when he takes the question of guilt out of the equation, and just looks at the murder, he said he doesn’t see it as a seriously, heinous crime. Especially compared to other murders in Alaska that have involved torture, or people hunted for sport or taxidermized.
“In the scheme of things we have to compare it to, it’s really not even bad,” Bradley said.
Far from a long, torturous death, Carey died from a shotgun blast to the chest, Bradley said. And Carey was an old man whose family doubted he had much time left in this world, he said.
“If I could choose (how to die) I think this would top the list,” Bradley said.
But Cutler disagreed. As for the evidence, she noted that whatever doubts Bradley may have the jury dispatched its misgivings after four or five hours of deliberation. She said the evidence was overwhelming and that as murders go, it was serious.
“He’s had his fair trial and we have to accept that this was a senseless deliberate murder,” Cutler said. “It was heinous. It was brutal.”
Contact reporter Andrew Wellner at email@example.com or 352-2270.