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Hatchet bonded out on own recognizance

POSTED: November 2, 2017 4:51 p.m.

The man known as Hatchet Man for his 1996 attack on a woman using a hatchet and arrested in February on allegations of sexual abuse was released from jail Sept. 18.

Calvin Leon Nelson, 60, was arrested in February.At the time of the arrest Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles said the matter was being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 14 office in Kingsland.

Nobles said Wednesday the GBI found no evidence to substantiate the claim of sexual abuse.

Nelson, also identified in public records and warrants as Kevines Leon Nelson is currently charged with criminal attempt to commit a felony and public drunkenness.

After his initial arrest Nelson was denied bond. However, Nelson’s Public Defender, Brandon Clark, later filed a motion and bond was set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 property on May 23.

A few days later Nelson retained Kimberly L. Copeland, of Brunswick, as his attorney. She filed a new motion to have bond reduced which was granted July 11.

On Sept. 18, Nelson was released on his own recognizance.

Background

Nelson was arrested Feb. 7, after police allegedly found him lying in a ditch on Horsecreek Road by Stewart Pines Mobile Home Park. His car, a blue Mercury Grand Marquis was parked near the home at lot 23, authorities said.

According to the incident report, deputies were dispatched to the area when someone called to report a suspicious vehicle. The report said Nelson’s car matched the description of a similar vehicle seen in the area the day before and suspected to be involved in a crime committed in the area.

According to Long County Deputy Sam Frank, officers found the car and then found Nelson lying in the ditch. Frank reported Nelson said he was on his way home but stopped to urinate on the side of the road. When he saw the cops, he said he got scared and tried to hide, according to the report.

Frank said Nelson appeared intoxicated and submitted to a breath test, blowing a .08. He was taken to Tattnall County jail. In his car cops found an open can of beer, an open, unrolled condom and his cell phone.

During the investigation police also found a screwdriver in the ditch were Nelson hid, authorities claim.

According to the arrest warrant dated Feb. 23, Nelson was charged with criminal attempt to commit a felony burglary for trying to break into the mobile home at lot 23.

The warrant alleged Nelson attempted to pry open the left front window of the home and cut a screen out of a window near the front door. The incident report stated that the damage done to one of the windows appeared to be done with a screwdriver.

Nelson was nicknamed “Hatchet man of Hinesville,” after he attacked a woman in the parking lot of Walmart in August 1996.

He was convicted of aggravated assault, kidnapping with bodily harm and armed robbery during a jury trial about a year after he attacked Mara Colon.

According to news articles and public records, Colon said Nelson came up behind her, slipped a paper bag over her head and repeatedly punched her. Nelson took her car keys and dragged her toward the vehicle, pushed her onto the floorboard and started to drive away.

As she was thrown into the car, the bag slipped off her head. The records say she begged to be let go and Nelson threatened to kill her, showing Colon a hatchet he had strapped to his leg. But Nelson ran the car into a curb, giving Colon the chance to jump out of the car. Nelson also jumped out and started to attack her.

Two Walmart employees heard Colon’s cries for help and jumped in to help. Nelson ran off.

He was caught nearby by the Hinesville Police Department.

According to news articles, HPD also considered Nelson a person of interest for a similar attack on a woman behind the First United Methodist Church of Hinesville a week before Colon was attacked.

During Nelson’s trial, Liberty County Superior Court Judge Robert Russell sentenced Nelson to two consecutive life sentences without parole for the kidnapping and armed robbery and a 20-year concurrent sentence for the aggravated assault charge.

However, Nelson won two separate appeals at the appellate and state Supreme Court levels and earned a resentencing hearing.

He was given 20 years and with credit for time served was released Sept. 7, 2016. According to the Georgia Department of corrections, Nelson is a habitual offender and has been in and out of prison since 1973.

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