On the east side of Judge John J. Jackson’s courtroom on Monday morning were three Marion County jail inmates, clad in orange jumpsuits and restrained with chains about their ankles, wrists and waists.
On the west side of the courtroom were five Hannibal police officers, uniformed in blue, armed with pistols, and buffed with bullet-proof vests.
On the north side of the room, in the visitors’ seating area, were inmates’ family members, seizing an opportunity to see their loved ones without the separation of bars or glass.
With court in recess and the judge and attorneys in conference, informality overrode the typically formal courtroom ambiance.
“You better know I love you ...” Chad Nelson professed to his significant other, who was seated in the galley. “It will be fine,” he said, his face flushed and tears running down his cheeks. “Bring me some money ... I love you.”
And she responded, “I love you, too.”
“Get some money and take it up there to me,” Nelson said, referring to his current address at the Marion County Jail.
Nelson, in an expression of regret, continued: “At some point in time you got to take responsibility for what you’re doing. Praise Jesus.” Addressing the police officers on the other side of the courtroom, Nelson asked, “You guys got Jesus in your life? He can take a mean man and make him soft.”
Nelson then turned to fellow inmate Patrick Niffen. “Jesus loves you too, brother.”
The focus of Nelson’s attention then turned back to his significant other. “You know that I love you ... I want some money ... And bring me pictures of the kids ... Today, before noon, would be nice. God bless you.”
Nelson faces two counts of Class A felony kidnapping, a case involving adults, according to the prosecutor.
Nelson waived his right to a preliminary hearing and his arraignment was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. March 17. Two misdemeanor charges were passed to March 21 at the request of his attorney, Jennifer Richardson.
“I love you,” told his mother during the next recess, “see you next weekend.”
His significant other told him, “I’m sorry.”
“We all are,” Nelson said.