In Memory of


September 15, 1957 - December 3, 1993

Kenneth L. Claggett was arrested for Nelson's murder Friday morning, May 4, 2007

He pled guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter on November 27, 2007.

He was released immediately following the hearing after having served a 223 day sentence.

Link to Washington Post Article

Washington Post Comments

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Who He Was

Justice Overdue

A Mother's Grief

Bill's Letter

Trish's Letters

Floyd's Poem

Cindy's Poem

Cindy's Letter


Fast Cars, Bikes

Photos as a Child

Photos as an Adult

Photos w/Chance

More w/Chance

More Photos

Nelson's Harley



     Justice Overdue: The Nelson Minter Story

            by Beth George    

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On December 2, 1993, Nelson John Minter was beaten to death and then burned in his own home. Detectives in Montgomery County, MD, identified and arrested a suspect. In the midst of their grieving, Nelson's friends and family hoped at least to see justice served, but their hopes were dashed when the suspect was set free within two weeks of his arrest. The case remains unresolved to date, despite a wealth of evidence.

Three years after Nelson Minter was murdered, Washington Post reporter Karl Vick took a new look at the case in his article titled "In Montgomery, Someone's Getting Away With Murder: Case of the Charred Corpse Frustrates Police" (Nov 8, 1996).

The article explains that Minter's house "smoldered for half a day" before anyone noticed smoke. The article further relates that when "the Upper Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department arrived, the firefighter who aimed water over Nelson Minter's charred and beaten body turned out to be the same man who was living with the dead man's wife." That firefighter was Kenneth L. Claggett, who has since married Minter's widow, Karen.

According to the article, detectives say that during an interview Karen Minter implicated Claggett in the murder then later changed her story. Vick writes, "the detectives who arrested Kenneth L. Claggett set him free two weeks later, when Karen Minter claimed that she had not said what detectives wrote down."

Claggett maintains that he is innocent and that he was watching a movie at the approximate time Nelson Minter was beaten to death.

Not long before the murder, Claggett allegedly became very angry when he heard of an argument between Nelson and Karen Minter regarding child support and parental visitation of the couple's young son, according to the article.

Karen has acknowledged that Claggett attached Nelson Minter's name to a .357-caliber bullet and kept it on top of the refrigerator. She called the incident a "sick joke," according to Vick.

Vick also points out that broken furniture surrounding Minter's body suggests a struggle occurred, and that Claggett had scratches on his face and hands, yet Clagget attributes these to his pets.

Claggett's attorney, Paul De Wolfe is quoted in the article as saying, "I don't see any evidence that can't be explained innocently."

Others disagree. Vick relates that the crime scene " was destroyed by a blaze that fire marshals quickly determined had been set" and that police "call it arson of a skill that amounts to evidence in itself."

"The arsonist sprayed charcoal lighter fluid on a mattress beside the body, ignited it, then pulled the bedroom door shut. In the enclosed space, the blaze smoldered with low flames and little smoke, cooking away fibers, latent fingerprints and blood" according to the article.

Richard Fallin, the original investigator has since retired. Vick quotes Fallin as saying, "'Whoever set that house on fire knew exactly what he was doing.'"

Karen Minter Claggett has been accused of laughing about inheriting money from her late husband; she denies this, according to the article.

At any rate, unbeknownst to Karen, Nelson Minter changed the beneficiary of his sizable life insurance policy just months before his death. Minter named his son and a daughter born to another woman as the new beneficiaries, and named his mother as custodian.

Nelson Minter's mother, Mary Jane Alexander, continues her efforts to get justice for her son. She has attended victim-witness assistance meetings, written to the State's Attorney and other officials, met with detectives, searched for information, spoken with reporters and agonized over the way the case has been handled. Justice for Nelson Minter is long overdue.                      

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