A 20-year-old Longview man was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years’ probation after pleading guilty to making a terroristic threat against Kilgore High School in 2018.
David Alexander Nelson told 188th District Judge Scott Novy he would agree to 10 years’ probation after Nelson consulted his attorney, Daryll Bennett of Longview, and his family members.
Novy had given Nelson a chance to consider being sentenced to eight years in prison, as the prosecution proposed, or eight years of probation, as Bennett had sought. Novy advised Nelson that eight years of probation would have tough conditions to meet.
Nelson faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, according to Gregg County District Attorney Tom Watson.
After the hearing, Bennett said Nelson has been taking drugs.
“He’s a good kid,” Bennett said. “He just got on meth(amphetamine). He had been on meth probably five years.”
Bennett said Nelson will be required to undergo treatment for six to nine months once a bed is available at a substance abuse felony treatment facility and attend drug court once a week at the courthouse for the duration of the probation. He also will be restricted in his use of social media as a condition of probation.
Chief felony prosecutor Tanya Reed said afterward, “I think, from what the judge gave him, he does have a hard road ahead of him.
“I respect his decision. I still believe that prison time would have been more appropriate. I want the best for him,” she said.
Nelson, who appeared with a shaved head and in a gray inmate suit, was arrested Oct. 26, 2018, by Kilgore police after an investigation with Longview police and other law enforcement agencies. He has been in the Gregg County Jail on a $500,000 bond since Oct. 28, 2018.
The threats that led to Nelson’s arrest were made Oct. 24, 2018, against Kilgore High School using the Snapchat app. Nelson confessed to creating the posts as a prank, Kilgore police said in a written statement.
Nelson also faced charges for similar threats made against Longview High School on Oct. 25, 2018, but the proceedings Wednesday applied only to the Kilgore High School accusations, Reed said.
Nelson’s prosecution for the third-degree felony offense began with his indictment filed on Dec. 20, 2018, and concluded with the guilty plea Wednesday, according to court documents. He waived a jury trial Nov. 15.
During the start of the proceeding Wednesday, Novy asked Nelson several questions to ascertain that Nelson knew the consequences of a guilty plea, to which he replied, “Yes, sir.”
Novy also told Nelson that the judge would not be bound by whatever the prosecution or defense sought as punishment, and Nelson responded that he understood.
Bennett then called Nelson’s mother, Angel Nelson, and a family friend to speak about his character. They fielded questions from both Bennett and Assistant District Attorney Mike Northcutt Jr.
Angel Nelson, who spoke softly, responded “no” when Bennett asked her whether she knew her son was doing drugs. She answered in the affirmative when he asked her whether she thought he was a “good kid.”
The mother said she would help her son to adhere to conditions of his probation.
Referring to probation, Novy told Nelson, “You better give 110%,” and said, “You have a high probability of drug addiction. I don’t want to see you in prison for eight years.”
After Nelson consulted with Bennett and family, Novy told him, “We want you to be successful and productive and get a job.”