Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On October 30, 2023, the Missoula County Attorney’s Office announced that Charles Covey was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Lee Roy Nelson. According to Deputy County Attorney Caitlin Creighton, Covey was sentenced on October 27. 

“Nelson died on Nov. 20, 2020,” Creighton said. “His body was found near the Riverfront Trail on the north side of the Clark Fork River in downtown Missoula by a nurse during her lunchtime walk. Missoula police conducted an extensive investigation that led to Covey’s arrest.” 

Creighton said surveillance video and witnesses placed Nelson and Covey in the same area before the homicide.  

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“A witness observed a man pushing Nelson, who used a wheelchair,” Creighton said. “Nelson was yelling “stop” before he eventually came out of the wheelchair. The witness observed the man crouched over and described hearing a hollow metallic sound, like an object being aggressively hit against something.” 

Creighton said Nelson’s death was caused by blunt and sharp force trauma to his head.

“Covey was captured on surveillance leaving the nearby area after Nelson was killed and then discarding his clothing behind a trash can. The murder weapon was never recovered. While nothing can bring Mr. Nelson back, today Mr. Nelson and the Missoula community received justice with this sentence.” 

Covey was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in the Montana State Prison for the homicide and 10 years in the Montana State Prison for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, which he will serve concurrently with the homicide charge. 

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