GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI: Sonya Lynn Nelson (September 18, 1966 – July 13, 2009), formerly of Alexandria, Louisiana, was the younger step-sister of Vincent Simmons’ alleged rape victims. Nelson (42) suffered a fatal gunshot wound to her abdomen in her rented room while struggling over a gun with her landlord Larry Dean Slagle (then 71) two years ago. Two shots went off on that Monday night. One of them struck the tenant.
The media has not disclosed whose weapon it was. I personally think that, depending on whose pistol it was, the story looks different.
Slagle called police around 8:30 P.M. Nelson died at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport, Mississippi, on that same night. Justice Court Judge Gene Dedeaux ordered Slagle held without bond at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center, reported the Sun Herald on July 15, 2009.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Fisher told the Sun Herald that the altercation between Nelson and Slagle had been about the cost of electricity. The defendant’s version is that it was an accident. Fisher corroborates his theory of murder with the statement, “In the 911 tape, you could hear her dying declaration. She was screaming he was lying.”
The prosecutor charged Slagle with murder. Because the jury believed Slagle had not shot Nelson deliberately, Circuit Judge Larry Bourgeois sentenced Larry Dean Slagle to 20 years for manslaughter and suspended half of the penalty on Thursday, May 19, 2011. Slagle has to serve ten years in prison.