Katy 12-year-old charged with murder in father's shooting
By PEGGY O’HARE, HELEN ERIKSEN and JAMES PINKERTON Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
April 30, 2009, 2:11PM
A 12-year-old Katy girl has been taken into custody, accused of fatally shooting her father in the back of the head on a quiet cul-de-sac in the Heritage Park West subdivision.
Mark A. Nelson, 38, died at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center.
Harris County prosecutors filed murder charges against the Cardiff Junior High School seventh-grader today, said Donna Hawkins, a prosecutor and spokeswoman for the Harris County district attorney's office, who added that the girl will be adjudicated in the juvenile court system. She cannot be tried as an adult because she is under 14.
A detention hearing has been set for Friday morning.
Nelson was shot while he and his daughter were alone at the family’s home in the 3300 block of Jan Court off Morton Road, Tyler said.
The girl did not attend school Wednesday as classes had been canceled because of high water.
“It was a big shock,” said neighbor Aaron Johnson, who has lived next door to the family for eight years. “I usually saw them outside playing basketball in the driveway or in the garage.”
Tension had been building between the seventh-grader and her father over the last few days, said neighbor Gabrielle Young, 18, who said her sister is the suspect’s best friend.
“Sometimes (the father) came across as a very nice person, but you never know what is happening behind closed doors,” Young said.
Katy police went to the family’s home after receiving a 911 call from another relative at 11:12 a.m.
Officers found Nelson lying on his side in the master bedroom.
He had been shot one time in the back left portion of his head, Tyler said.
Nelson worked a night shift job and may have been trying to sleep when he was shot, Tyler said.
Police did not immediately release a possible motive for the shooting.
Young said the 12-year-old girl often came over with bruises on her neck.
Young described the child as “a really good kid” who made good grades.
“I saw him yelling at her a lot,” Young said of the injured man, “and she hated going home. When he showed up, her whole mood would change.”
Weapons found in home
Tyler said authorities have never received any reports of domestic abuse from the residence.
Child Protective Services spokeswoman Estella Olguin said Wednesday she did not have information available.
Investigators took a .38-caliber revolver into evidence, Tyler said. Other weapons, including another handgun and a shotgun, were found elsewhere in the house, he said.
The girl was questioned for several hours at the Katy Police Department and was expected to be moved to the Harris County Juvenile Detention Center late Wednesday.
Both parents living at the home are health care workers, Tyler said.
The couple married in December 2003, according to county records.