Judge orders girl, 12, accused of father’s murder to remain in custody

By Calvin Palmer

A 12-year-old Katy girl charged with murder in the shooting death of her father was today ordered by a juvenile judge to remain in custody for at least 10 days as prosecutors continue to investigate.

Mark A. Nelson, 38, was shot in the back of his head on Wednesday morning as he lay in bed after finishing a night shift.  He died in hospital later that day.

Assistant District Attorney Bill Moore said the girl faces a wide range of possible punishments if convicted — from probation up to 40 years in jail.

The girl’s attorney, Windi Akins Pastorini declined to discuss today’s proceedings, which were closed to the public and the press, citing the judge’s orders.

Harris County prosecutors have filed murder charges against the Cardiff Junior High School seventh-grader but she cannot be tried as an adult because she is under 14.

Assistant police chief of Katy Tim Tyler said detectives were investigating allegations by neighbors that the girl may have been a victim of abuse.

“She did not make an outcry to the Katy Police Department, but we are following up on some of the statements made by neighbors about any kind of abuse between her dad and her,” Tyler said. “At this time, we haven’t been able to verify any of that.”

He said records show a report was filed with Child Protective Services, but the results were inconclusive as to whether the 12-year-old had suffered abuse.

“We don’t have a public record on that family. That means we’ve never had to take custody of a child, or investigate a child death or serious injury,” CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin said, adding she could not discuss whether there were other contacts with the family.

The girl did not express regret about her father’s death during lengthy questioning at the police station, Tyler said.

“She didn’t show any remorse,” Tyler said. “She was acting like a typical 12- year-old girl would be if something like this didn’t happen, just a normal kid, talking about school and athletics.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary, other than a father disciplining his child for certain things.”

[Based on a report by the Houston Chronicle.]

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