Driver waives parole hearing
Hundreds of signatures and e-mail messages opposed Brian Nelson's parole, but he chose Wednesday to forgo any effort to get out of Lieber Correctional Institution, where he's serving 20 years for killing two local law enforcement officers.
Nelson was driving a pickup truck that hit Summerville police officer William Boland Bell, 48, and Berkeley County sheriff's deputy Marion Eugene Wright II, 27. Bell and Wright had stopped to help a woman stranded with a flat tire on Boone Hill Road the evening of Nov. 19, 2002.
Nelson had a suspended driver's license and a history of seizures. A blood test detected medications he took for the seizures.
Nelson, 33, is serving the maximum on two charges of reckless homicide. He had to serve a quarter of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole, but he waived his first hearing Wednesday. Inmates statistically have a low rate of success the first time they come up for parole, said Peter O'Boyle, public information director for the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.
Hearings are held in Columbia, but victims also might address the S.C. Board of Paroles and Pardons by video link from the National Guard Armory on Cross County Road in North Charleston.
Berkeley County sheriff's Sgt. Kevin McField was a corporal when he worked the same shift as his friend Wright.
"You want to see justice. You want to support the family," McField said.
He had expected to have a chance to tell the board why Nelson "shouldn't get out for awhile."
S.C. Highway Patrol Cpl. Paul Brouthers said he was "pleasantly surprised" that Nelson waived the hearing.
"I'm glad for the families. They don't have to keep reliving it by testifying," he said.
Until next year.
Nelson will now come up for parole every year, O'Boyle said.