NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A federal court has ruled that Robert Nelson will spend 30 years in prison for shooting a New Mexico State Police officer in 2020. The shooting happened when State Police Officer Sharron Duran conducted a traffic stop on the side of I-40 near the Laguna Pueblo on September 12, 2020. Nelson was traveling through New Mexico when he was pulled over for tailgating his parent’s trailer. Officer Duran approached his car and Nelson immediately opened fire hitting her three times.
She spoke to the court Wednesday about how she was just trying to do her job and Nelson never gave her the chance. She emotionally described how Nelson shot her and left her on the side of the road to die but she was not going to let him win. She said she doesn’t believe he was ever fearful of police like he contended in his defense.
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Duran spoke about how she had to remain quiet during this process and listen to Nelson demonize her for just doing her job. Duran said she still suffers from the effects of that day.
The federal judge told Nelson, “You knew what you were doing and knew from right and wrong.” She went on to say that this was no mental health event he never gave the officer a chance before he opened fire. The judge then commended Officer Duran for her bravery.
Nelson’s defense team was asking for just 12 years for firing a weapon. The federal judge said that sentence would ignore the fact that Nelson tried to kill a police officer. The 30 years was the maximum sentence possible as part of a plea deal he took earlier this year.