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Man convicted of killing southern Illinois village official

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois man has been found guilty but mentally ill in the 2018 shooting death of a village board member and tax assessor, the Madison County state’s attorney office announced Thursday.

Eldon C. Williams Jr., 87, of Godfrey was shot in the back of the head while sitting in his car in the driveway of an Alton home where he was putting up a for-sale sign. Donald M. Nelson, 37, confessed to killing Williams. Nelson told police he planned the murder, adding he would do it again because it gave him a rush.

After the Oct. 16, 2018 shooting of Williams, Nelson showed up at a home in Godfrey, where residents scared him away and called police. Nelson was captured by Madison County deputies after a foot chase.

After a bench trial that began Monday, Judge Kyle Napp found Nelson guilty of first-degree murder, armed violence and other charges.

Assistant Public Defender Mary Copeland didn’t dispute the facts in the case against Nelson, but argued Nelson was not guilty by reason of insanity. Napp found Nelson understood what he was doing when he killed Williams, but noted Nelson sought mental health treatment in the past and was failed due to a lack of funding for mental health centers.

Nelson’s sentencing date hasn’t been set.

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