Helicopter helps flush out man accused of beating 71-year-old woman
A Coalinga man who beat a 71-year-old woman less than two years after he had been released from state prison is going back to prison to serve an 18-year sentence.
Brent Nelson, 62, was sentenced Tuesday in Fresno County Superior Court.
Last month, Nelson pleaded no contest to elder abuse and admitted causing great bodily injury, having a prior strike conviction and to having a prior serious felony conviction.
In late 2015, Nelson and the victim lived 20 miles west of Coalinga and had known each other about a year and considered each other friends, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said. He would visit the victim’s house occasionally to help her with chores.
The beating occurred Dec. 9 after Nelson offered to take her into Coalinga for ice cream. They didn’t have any money and had to return to her home to get her wallet, Sheriff Margaret Mims said at the time.
Nelson suddenly got upset, stopped the car and began to beat the woman. As they drove along, he made repeated stops to beat her, the sheriff said.
After arriving at the victim’s house, Nelson tied her hands and feet, Mims said. The 320-pound, 6-foot-10 Nelson then threw the 130-pound, 5-foot-6 victim onto her bed and left, the sheriff said.
Mims said the woman tried to call for help but couldn’t reach the phone. Nelson came back into the house a short time later and untied her. He apologized and told her not to call law enforcement.
The victim called a friend, told her she was injured and needed help. The woman said a stack of wood had fallen on her.
After her friend saw her injuries, the victim was taken to a hospital by ambulance for medical treatment.
The victim told deputies from her hospital bed that she waited almost a full month to report the attack because she feared for her life, Mims said. The victim suffered broken ribs, a punctured lung and head wounds.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and deputies went to a home on the 48000 block of Los Gatos Road in Coalinga to serve a search warrant. Nelson became aware of the dragnet on his property and tried to flee, the sheriff said.
A CHP helicopter used its thermal imaging system to locate Nelson crawling through thick brush on the property.
He was arrested and booked into Fresno County Jail.
Nelson previously spent 13 years in San Quentin State Prison for a similar case of kidnapping and assaulting a woman in a vehicle in the Eureka area. He was released from prison in 2013 and had lived in Fresno County for about a year.