Ellie Nesler, 41, shot and killed Daniel Driver in a Jamestown, California, courtroom on April 2, 1993.
Hello, I am practicing for my final test can you please explain me this in detail.
Ellie Nesler, 41, shot and killed Daniel Driver in a Jamestown, California, courtroom on April 2, 1993. She smuggled the weapon into the courtroom and shot Driver five times. Driver had been on trial for molesting Nesler’s 6-year-old son.
The defense argued that Nesler was insane at the time of the crime. Here are the defense’s arguments:
- Nesler had lived in violent family environments. Her alcoholic father often battered her mother, she was attacked when she tried to shield her mother and two younger sisters from her father, and she was molested at the age of 3 and was sexually abused by at least three other men. As a child she had thoughts of suicide. She, therefore, had a history of trauma that made her psychologically vulnerable.
- Nesler discovered that her 6-year-old son had been molested by Daniel Driver, a man Nesler trusted but did not know was a convicted child molester. She was racked with guilt knowing she had entrusted her son to this man. During the three percent when Driver was sought by law enforcement for the molestation, the son (Danny) lived in constant fear that Driver would find and harm him.
- Nesler saw “secret signs” from the routine comments of friends and relatives that ordered her to kill Driver. These caused her to smuggle a pistol into the courtroom and kill Driver.
- Several mental health professionals evaluated Nesler and, although their diagnoses varied, one included brief reactive psychosis and another posttraumatic stress disorder.
The prosecution argued that Nesler did not act like an insane person and should be found guilty of the crime. Here are the prosecution’s arguments:
- Nesler’s behaviors leading up to the crime were planned and deliberate. She admitted that she wanted to see if Driver would be remorseful before shooting him. She wanted to see if he would “cop a plea” (accept a level of guilt for his actions rather than plead not guilty).
- She checked to see if a deputy whom she had befriended would get in trouble if Driver was killed.
- She made sure no children were present in the courtroom so they would not witness the shooting.
- Several mental health professionals with credentials equal to the defense’s evaluated Nesler and argued that she had the ability to distinguish right from wrong.
I am either Nesler’s Defense Attorney or the Prosecutor.