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Los Angeles District Attorney Seeks to Drop Enhancements on Cop Killer’s Charges
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Los Angeles District Attorney Seeks to Drop Enhancements on Cop Killer’s Charges

by Leah AnayaDecember 15, 2020

Los Angeles, CA – Local news affiliate Fox 11 has confirmed that Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon’s office is looking to drop the special circumstance allegations and gun enhancements against a double murder suspect. One of the suspect’s alleged victims was a police officer.

Removing the enhancements from the suspect’s sentence would make him eligible for parole at some point, something he currently is not eligible for.

In June of 2019, a Utah man, Rhett Nelson, walked up to an off duty Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Deputy, Joseph Gilbert Solano, at a Jack in the Box in Alhambra and shot him in the back of the head. About an hour before that, Nelson shot and killed Dmitry Koltsov, who was skateboarding.

Koltsov was declared dead at the scene, while Nelson was taken to the hospital and later declared dead from his injuries, surrounded by loved ones.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, “The deputy was alerted in the restaurant that someone was following him, and that’s when he turned to confront (the person), and that’s when the shooting happened. That much we do know. But the motive, the rationale from the suspect — that’s the million-dollar question.”

Nelson had been reported missing by his family in Utah and was believed to have been connected to more crimes in California. He was arrested the day after the shootings after his dad reportedly called the police and turned him in.

Reportedly, Nelson was ultimately charged with two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and multiple counts of second-degree robbery.

If newly elected Gascon’s attempts prove successful and a judge signs off on it, as stated above, he would no longer face life in prison without parole, meaning he could be paroled and let out of prison at some point in the future.

Deputy Solano’s sister, Christina, spoke to Fox 11 and said she is “horrified” over this possibility.

Christina said, “Completely in shock, I can’t even tell you, my heart just dropped, I couldn’t believe it. He should be there for the families, we are the victims here, not this person who shot him. I don’t understand what his purpose is to let these murderers out of jail, I don’t get it, he’s like the Devil, I don’t understand it.”

Christina said that Gascon hasn’t reached out to her or anyone in her family to discuss the case or his decision to attempt to get a lesser sentence for Nelson. She said he has forgotten who the real victims are. Christina said, “He’s never come to me, never talked to me about my family, my brother, he should be there for us, not these crazy people in jail. It’s disgusting, and he’s disgusting.”

Gascon’s transition team issued the following statement on the matter: “The defendant is facing a sentence of 40 years to life in prison, but there is no sentence that can undo the harm caused in this case. If convicted, there is a possibility that decades from now, the parole board could determine he’s been rehabilitated. Such a determination, many years from now, would ultimately be a reflection of a system and the public alike weighing their continued interest in incarcerating a man who no longer poses a threat to society at an extraordinary taxpayer cost. Eliminating that remote possibility today may not be in the public’s interest decades from now.”

A judge will decide on the requested dismissal of the enhancement charges at the pre-trial hearing, currently scheduled for January 11, 2021.

About The Author
Leah Anaya
Leah Anaya
Leah Anaya is a medically retired police officer. She served for three years at the Oakland Police Department, and just under five at a department in Washington State. Before that, she was an intelligence analyst in the US Army. She is now a stay at home mom living with her husband, who is still serving as a police officer, and their three children. She also grew up as the daughter of a police officer in California. Leah is now a writer and Deputy Editor at Law Enforcement News Network as well as the Business Manager for Washington State FOP. She's a peer support advocate for The Wounded Blue and Serve and Protect. You can find her on social media @leahmsanaya or at www.leahanaya.com.
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