Street parents hit with murder charges
- Jim Redden
- Portland Tribune - News
The alleged leaders of the street 'family' accused of killing Jessica Kate Williams have been indicted on murder charges.
James David Nelson, 27, and Cassie Jean Hale, 20, were both charged with aggravated murder Friday by a Multnomah County grand jury, according to the district attorney's office. They also face kidnapping, robbery and assault charges.
Court records allege that Nelson and Hale are the unofficial 'father' and 'mother' of a group of homeless teens and adults that befriended and then turned on Williams, 22, a developmentally disabled Gladstone woman.
Three other members of the group Danielle Marie Cox, 18; James Aaron Stewart, 18; and Carl Richard Alsup, 17 previously were charged with aggravated murder in Williams' death.
Prosecutors said Nelson and Hale are accused of ordering other family members to punish and then kill Williams because she allegedly lied about being sexually propositioned by another homeless youth.
Williams' body was found near the railroad tracks under the east side of the Steel Bridge on May 23. She had been beaten, stabbed and set on fire.
Several members of the family already have pleaded guilty to their roles in the crime. Most received reduced sentences in exchange for promising to testify against the others.
Pleading guilty to charges of second-degree kidnap, third-degree robbery and third-degree assault are: Joshua Ryan Brown-Lenon, 18; Steven Scott Pearce, 21; Crystal Ann Grace, 20; Heidi Lee Keller, 20; Crystal Dawn Ivey, 17; and Crystal Lee Elliot, 16.