COQUILLE, Ore. - Bridge resident Edward Nelson plead guilty Wednesday to killing his wife and neighbors before setting two homes on fire in June.
Initially set for trial in July, Nelson took a plea agreement to three counts of aggravated murder for the deaths of his wife Katherine, and neighbors Renae and Lola Cottam.
Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier said he reached a deal with the defense that gives Nelson three life sentences without parole.
“It's never been a case of who did it, I mean it's always been from the first day that Mr. Nelson was the person responsible for this, the evidence was quite overwhelming,” said Frasier. “I basically has said, ‘look… if we're going to resolve this lets do it now, let's get it taken care of’.”
Frasier could have pursued the death penalty, but the Cottam’s son, Michael, explained that it wasn't his wish.
“I don't see there is anything to be gained and certainly no example for my son by having somebody else be killed, so I'll be happy if he just rots in jail,” said Michael Cottam.
Cottam wanted whatever route would consume fewer tax dollars, so more could go toward things his parents loved like schools and libraries.
“Although he died too young, he and my mother had a huge influence on a lot of people, more than most people would if they lived to 100,” Cottam said.
Frasier wouldn't comment on Nelson’s possible motives until after the sentencing, however he did share their discoveries with Renae and Lola’s son, Michael.
“All I can say is you'll be horrified when you hear what his reason was, it's off the charts,” said Cottam.
Nelson is set to be sentenced in the Coos County Courtroom on December 16.