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



As spoken by Arthur at Nelson's memorial service:

My name is Arthur, and I worked with Nelson for the last 9 years.  He sat there 5 feet away from my desk, and I want to tell you a funny story: 

We started our roofing company about 9 years ago.  We had a 1963 flatbed truck.  We used to drive it down route 355.  I tell you mothers and children they would run for cover because I'm gonna tell you something:  this thing had so much smoke in it you thought you were in Kuwait in the oil fires.  This thing was bad!  So we're driving down route 355.  We're gonna go load this house, and we see one of our competitors.  He thought he was the Donald Trump of roofing in Montgomery County.  We're sittin' there at the red light and he gets out of the truck and yells across route 355, "Hey Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble!  What are you doing?"  About 2 weeks before, Donald Trump was sitting there telling us how he was going to do these 25 houses in this subdivision.  He was big.  He thought he was bad.  Well - we're sittin' there at the red light; Nelson's got 2 cigarettes in his mouth, maybe 3, I don't know.  Hair was stickin' straight up.  Like everybody knows - the old time Nelson.  Yeah, he was sittin' there hair all cocked up and me and him looked at each other.  We didn't say a thing.  We got that old truck bouncin' around.  Take a left into the subdivision with Donald Trump sittin' there.  We go load that roof, 15 minutes, 10 guys, knocked the roof out.  We come out of there, go back to the same red light.  Nelson and I are sittin' there.  He's still got 3 cigarettes in his mouth, maybe 4, hair cocked up, glasses like this - you know.  We jump out of the truck.  There's Donald Trump sittin' on the corner.  He's perplexed.  He thought he was gonna do all those houses.  Me and him jumped out.  We didn't say one word.  Not one word.  But both him and I said at the same time, "Yabba Dabba Doo!"  Yep.  And I tell you, the smile on his face that day is the way I'm gonna remember him.  And we ended up doin' 25 houses in that subdivision.  And that poor ole roofer Donald Trump...  Hmmm, Hmmm.  That's the way I'm gonna remember Nelson.

As spoken by Ginny (counselor at Montgomery General OATs program) at Nelson's memorial service:

I was there the day that Nelson came in.  And I was also there when Trish and Nelson and another member of our group ran off to the beach.  And we're sitting there, "Oh my God!"  Anyway, I was thinking about Nelson, and I happened to look up his birthday in Keep it Simple, which is a daily meditation book, and I'd like to read it to you:

September 15th

Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live.  The thought of the day is, "What brave people we are."  We have chosen life.  OK maybe we had a little push, maybe a big push, but our family, police or the pain of our disease pushed us into recovery, but still, we chose recovery.  We chose daily to let our higher power run our lives.  What trust, what faith, what courage!  We work hard at it.  We do our readings.  We go to meetings.  We pray and meditate.  We look for ways to serve others.  Each one of us is building a miracle.  We can be proud of this.

I immediately thought of Nelson when I read this.  He chose recovery.  He chose to live.  And he worked hard at it.  He chose daily for his higher power to lead him.  He went to meetings.  He did whatever was asked: to speak, to share, to put up chairs, make coffee.  He also came to all of our reunions at OATS and shared with us.  He kept active in the monthly follow-up from continuing care, and he looked for ways to serve others:  The literary fund at the Metro group; the parties; the happenings; the pig roast; the fourth of July, the beach times; fun, fun things in sobriety which are so important.  He chose to live!  Yes, Nelson was building a miracle.  We can be so proud of him!

Nelson's sister Cindy's Memories:

In recovery from addictive disease, Nelson was much loved by all who knew him.  His generosity was unsurpassed.  The theft of Big Books at his home group was a problem.  Others in the group wanted to lock the books up.  Nelson believed that the theft of the books was evidence of the dire need for them.  He removed them from the locked case where they had been placed to prevent theft and put them out in the open.  Every week, Nelson went to Central Office to buy more books for his home group using his personal funds.  By giving them away, he put an end to the theft problem.

Nelson picked me up at the airport once.  Back in those days, cell phones were rare, but Nelson, always on the leading edge of technology, had one.  He spotted a woman with a child in an old car that had broken down on the freeway.  I thought we were going to crash as he swerved over to stop.  He jumped out, saying, "She needs help!"  He ran over to her and handed her his cell phone so she could call for help. 

That was just the kind of guy he was.