Man sentenced for attempted murder of ISP trooper

It began as a routine traffic stop in East St. Louis in June of 2015.

BELLEVILLE, ILL. - A St. Clair County man is expected to spend the rest of his life behind bars for trying to kill a law enforcement officer.

Gregory Nelson, 54, was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison after being convicted on charges of attempted first degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm.

The charges stem from a June 2015 shooting in the East St. Louis area.

Illinois State Police trooper William Owen pulled Nelson over for suspected drunk driving on the northbound Interstate 255 entrance ramp from State Street.

Newly released dash cam video shows that after Nelson got out of his car for a field sobriety test, he pulled a firearm out of his waistband and opened fire on Owen.

Nelson got off one shot on Owen before jumping over the guardrail and running into the woods to hide.
Owen returned 12 shots. Neither he nor Nelson were injured in the incident.

The known felon remained on the run for four days until he was found hiding out in St. Ann, Missouri.

During his sentencing hearing, he told the court guns were always his downfall. He stated that blue lives mattered to him, in addition to black lives.

Owen told the court that some of his first traffic stops following the shooting were some of the most stressful times in his life.

Nelson had tried to argue that he didn’t intend to pull the trigger.

But in the end, circuit judge Zina Cruse watched the footage of the shooting and said it was clear Nelson knew what he was trying to do.

Illinois State Police spokesman Calvin Dye said the punishment was justified.

“This is definitely closure. We’re definitely satisfied. He probably won’t see the daylight again,” Dye said.

Owen has been with the force for about 10 years. He previously held a job in the social work field.


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