OKLAHOMA CITY – Today a jury convicted RUFUS LOU NELSON, JR., 34, of four felonies: being a felon in possession of ammunition, carjacking, kidnapping, and using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.
On August 7, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a four-count superseding indictment against Nelson, also known as Rufus H. Nelson and Ruffies Harold Nelson, Jr. The indictment concerns events on July 5, 2016, when Nelson was alleged to have used force, violence, and intimidation to take a 2012 Ford Taurus from a woman who suffered serious bodily injury.
Nelson’s jury trial began on Tuesday, September 4. The evidence showed that Nelson forced a woman at gunpoint to drive from Edmond to the south side of Oklahoma City. While she was driving on Interstate 240 between May Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue, Nelson shot her in the head. She survived but is now permanently blind. After she got out of the car and onto the median, two Good Samaritans stopped to provide medical assistance and called 911. Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers found Nelson approximately one hour later under the overpass at I-240 and Pennsylvania Avenue.
At sentencing, Nelson could be sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping. The carjacking conviction could result in up to twenty-five years in prison. The conviction for being a felon in possession of ammunition could lead to a ten-year sentence. And the conviction for using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence triggers a sentence of at least ten years and up to life, in addition to five years of supervised release. The last sentence would be in addition to any sentence imposed on the other three counts. Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.
Nelson remains in custody and will be sentenced in approximately 90 days.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Oklahoma City Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, with assistance from the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark R. Stoneman and Brandon T. Hale, the case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a Department of Justice program to reduce violent crime. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the reinvigoration of Project Safe Neighborhoods and directed U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop crime-reduction strategies that incorporate lessons federal law enforcement has learned since the program’s launch in 2001.
Reference is made to court filings for further information.