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The Telegram
  • Little Falls woman pleads guilty to attempted second-degree murder

  • Jennifer Riesel, the woman accused of running over Francis Nelson, claiming the Little Falls man offered to pay her to do it, pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to attempted second-degree murder.

    Riesel, 29, of Furnace Street, Little Falls, expects to be sentenced to 16 years in prison, with five years of probation post release, when she returns to Herkimer County Court next month.

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  • Jennifer Riesel, the woman accused of running over Francis Nelson, claiming the Little Falls man offered to pay her to do it, pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon to attempted second-degree murder.
    Riesel, 29, of Furnace Street, Little Falls, expects to be sentenced to 16 years in prison, with five years of probation post release, when she returns to Herkimer County Court next month.
    She will serve the sentence on top of her current sentence on an unrelated grand larceny charge.
    When Nelson was tied up, run over and killed in a farmer’s field in September in Little Falls, Riesel said that is exactly how the man wanted to die. Riesel told police the 74-year-old first approached her earlier in 2011 about wanting to end his own life, Riesel’s attorney, Ed Kaminski, said at the time.
    Police believed Nelson, of Loomis Street, asked Riesel, who is unemployed, to kill him and in return she would be paid $180,000. Police said they also talked to several people who told them Nelson made similar requests to others telling them he was terminally ill.
    Kaminski said Riesel had known Nelson for at least four years — he was like a grandfather, she said — and he persisted in asking her about the plan in the days leading up to the night of his death.
    It was Nelson who chose the way his death would play out, Riesel told police, Kaminski said. Riesel said Nelson picked the location in the farmer’s field along Eatonville Road in advance, then he drove his own vehicle to the scene while Riesel followed in her car. He brought the rope that would be used to tie his hands and feet without a struggle, before lying on the ground to be run over, Kaminski said.
    A farmer found Nelson’s body at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 27. His wrists and ankles were bound with rope and he had been run over by a car. His silver Chevrolet Impala, keys in the ignition, was nearby.
    Herkimer County Assistant District Attorney said Wednesday afternoon Nelson’s family was present in court and agreed with the final disposition. He also said Nelson had several life insurance policies, but nothing in the amount Riesel claimed and none listed her as the beneficiary.
    Kaminski assured Judge John Brennan Riesel knew the price of pleading guilty to attempted second-degree murder and has accepted her outcome. He also said Riesel maintains her original story.
    As Brennan read the testimony, Riesel admitted to meeting Nelson in the vacant field and that Nelson and her had “picked the spot.” She also admitted to running him over with a car twice, and that her reasoning for committing the murder was due to Nelson’s terminal illness.
    Carpenter has said Nelson’s toxicology report will not be released.
    Page 2 of 2 - Riesel will be sentenced on Wednesday, March 7, at 10 a.m. in Herkimer County Court.
    She is already serving up to four years in state prison for unlawfully using a credit card to purchase cellphone minutes. In an unrelated case, she is charged with second-degree forgery and petit larceny for allegedly writing an unauthorized check for $130.

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