Man pleas not guilty to murder
Trial set for June 1
January 15, 2020
A Green River man charged for first degree murder in the death of a five-year-old boy plead not guilty to the charge Friday afternoon.
Christopher James Nielsen, 26, made the plea during an arraignment in District Court Judge Suzannah Robinson’s court. If convicted, he could face either life in prison or the death penalty.
As of press time, the Sweetwater County Attorney’s Office has not decided if it will seek the death penalty in the case. The office has to decide if the death penalty will be sought by Feb. 10.
During the hearing, Nielsen’s $1 million cash or surety bond was unchanged, however an exception was made in a stipulation prohibiting all contact with children.
Nielsen’s attorneys requested he receive letters and phone calls from his 6-year-old daughter. Sweetwater County Attorney Daniel Erramouspe said he didn’t object to the request, which was granted. Nielsen is still unable to have in-person contact with his daughter.
A trial date of June 1 was set at the hearing.
According to court documents, Nielsen’s charges stem from an incident in November when he is alleged to have physically abused a child, fatally injuring him.
Originally from Utah, Nielsen moved to Green River to help care for his friends’ children as they established themselves in the city.
Nielsen initially claimed the boy fell and hit the back of his head. An examination of the boy at Children’s Primary Hospital in Utah revealed several injuries consistent with physical abuse.
When Green River Police Department detectives told Nielsen about the injuries the boy received, Nielsen allegedly told detectives he shook the boy he severely shook the boy once after losing his temper with him and another time after the boy passed out. Court documents state he said he shook the child a second time in an attempt to wake him up.
He also allegedly told detectives he was aware he was the cause of the boy’s injuries since his first interview with officers, but was unable to bring himself to admit it.