Wyoming Man Gets Life In Prison In Death of Green River Boy
Written by Associated Press on June 8, 2021
GREEN RIVER, Wyo. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a Wyoming man to life in prison without parole on first-degree murder charges in the death of a 5-year-old boy in his care.
Sweetwater County Third District Court Judge Suzannah Robinson sentenced Christopher James Nielsen last week, The Rocket-Miner reported.
Court documents say Nielsen, 27, was arrested Nov. 14, 2019, and was originally charged with aggravated child abuse after the boy was taken to hospital where he died on Nov. 28, 2019, from excessive brain trauma. The aggravated child abuse charge was elevated to a first-degree murder charge after the boy died.
Nielsen initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to no contest in April 2021, officials said. Nielsen later told police he lost his temper and shook him before the boy began to have a seizure.
Nielsen lived in the city of Green River in Sweetwater County for about a week before the boy was hospitalized and was living with Vanessa Kidner, the boy’s mother, and Stacy Willeitner, her fiancé, in exchange for babysitting.
Robinson said the most aggravating factor of the crime was the vulnerability of the child, who had developmental issues and was already being abused.
Sweetwater County Attorney Dan Erramouspe read a victim impact statement from Kidner, who said that she will never be whole again.
Nielsen apologized for his actions during the sentencing hearing and said that he prays for forgiveness even though he doesn’t deserve it.