MD man pleads guilty in PA/WV kidnapping and rape cold case

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JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Earlier this year, authorities cracked a nearly twenty-year-old kidnapping and rape case that had a connection to West Virginia. In January, authorities arrested Timothy Nelson, 50 of Cumberland, Md. in connection with the kidnapping and rape of a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl that happened in 1999.

Timothy Nelson

The girl was kidnapped from Cairnbrook, in Somerset County, Pa. and driven into Preston County, W.Va., where she was assaulted, before being dropped off on the side of the road, back in Pennsylvania.

In late 2018, investigators were able to match fingerprints taken from the scene in 1999 to Nelson.

On Wednesday, Nelson entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Nelson waived his right to a grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to two federal information counts: kidnapping a child and transporting her in interstate commerce and sexually abusing her; and traveling in interstate commerce with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a person under 12.

As part of the plea, Nelson agreed:

  • To pay restitution under the Victim-Witness Protection Act.
  • To participate in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons’ Inmate Financial Responsibility Program, which would direct 50% of his prison salary toward fines and restitution.
  • To register as a sex offender.
  • To waive the right to appeal his sentence.

The U.S. Attorney agreed:

  • To recommend and/or move for a “three-level downward adjustment” in Nelson’s sentence.
  • To not purse charges through the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland for the possession of child pornography found when his electronic devices were seized as a part of a separate investigation in January 2019. It does say that if authorities find that Nelson was involved in producing child pornography or was involved with any sexual or violent activity with a child, law enforcement agencies would not be prevented from prosecuting Nelson further.

Under the agreement, Nelson acknowledges that he could face up to life in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release. Nelson’s lawyers and U.S. Attorneys agreed that a 30 year prison sentence, five years of supervised release, a $200 assessment and restitution, as determined by the court, is the appropriate sentence in this case.

At Wednesday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson accepted the plea agreement. Nelson is scheduled to be sentenced on August 27. Gibson ordered that Nelson remain behind bars until then.

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