Donald Nelson mugshot 2020

Donald Nelson was found guilty on all counts in the death of 87-year-old Eldon "Twirp" Williams of Alton.

ALTON, Il. ( -- The suspect charged with the murder of an 87-year-old man in Alton has been sentenced.

Officers from Alton and the Madison County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 200 block of West Delmar Avenue just before noon on October 16, 2018, where Eldon "Twirp" Williams was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Eldon Williams

Eldon Williams

Police took a suspect into custody at the time, and Wednesday charged 36-year-old Donald M. Nelson with three counts of murder in Williams' killing, as well as attempted robbery, trespassing, and unlawful possession of a gun by a felon.

According to the Madison County State's Attorney, Nelson was found guilty, but mentally ill of all counts. Nelson was sentenced to 80 years in prison. He will not eligible for parole until he is 108 years old.

After Nelson was taken into custody, he confessed to murdering Williams. He told police the murder was not an accident, he planned it. He said he would do it again because it gave him a rush. 
The defense argued Nelson suffered from mental illness and was insane when he killed Williams. However, First Assistant State’s Attorney Crystal Uhe argued that it wasn’t until three months after being charged that Nelson claimed he has hallucinations and hears voices. Dr. Daniel Cuneo, clinical psychologist, testified that Nelson suffered from Schizoaffective disorder, he was faking his symptoms and was in his expert opinion, sane at the time he committed the murder. The court found that Nelson was cognizant of his actions at the time of the murder, but it was noted that Nelson
sought mental health treatment in the past and was failed due to lack of funding for mental health centers.
“When something this terrible happens to any member of our community, we are all impacted. Because Mr. Williams was and remains an icon and had touched the lives of so many people in Godfrey and the region, the loss of his life is felt by such a great number of us who are grieving alongside his family and loved ones. I will continue to pray for them that they may find peace and justice in this verdict and can continue on their path to healing from his tragic death," said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons about the case.

Williams leaves behind a wife and six daughters, and the community has mourned his death.  

Landmark Realty, where Williams was listed as an associate broker, posted the following message on Facebook:

Investigators believe he was at the home, which was recently put up for sale, to check the lock boxes.

Williams was also a Godfrey trustee. 

"It's kind of a cliche, but he was a true asset to the Godfrey community," said friend Matt Horn, who also works at Landmark Realty. "We here at Landmark are totally numb about what happened here today as is everyone in the community."

Wednesday morning, Alton Mayor Brant Walker issued the following statement regarding Williams' death:

I, and the members of my administration, join the entire community in mourning the tragic loss of Godfrey Trustee Eldon “Twirp” Williams in what appears to be a senseless random act of violence. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and offer our prayers during this difficult time.

“Twirp” dedicated his life to serving Godfrey and the Riverbend, and his death is both shocking and heartbreaking. Rest assured, the dedicated detectives and police officers of the Alton Police Department will use every resource available to bring the individual responsible for this heinous act to justice. We will not tolerate such violence in our community, and we will use every tool we have to ensure that justice is served for “Twirp.”

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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