Man Faces Four Counts of Attempted Murder After Driving Into Picnickers 

A Chicago man who drove his pickup truck into picnickers is facing four counts of attempted murder. The man struck two people in a group of 10—people who he dubbed, “yuppies with dogs.” 

Prosecutors said that 10 people were celebrating a birthday when Timothy Nielsen complained about their dogs. Members of their group asked the man to leave, but that is when he threw his truck in reverse and struck them. One woman was briefly trapped underneath the truck and was sent to the hospital with serious injuries. Another victim was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

The Defendant

Nielsen is being held without bail. He will face four counts of attempted murder. He does have a prior criminal history. Nielson spent four years in prison for aggravated kidnapping. He posed as a police officer and entered a home without the consent of the owner. He and another man beat the victim and held him for ransom. Nielson was convicted of aggravated kidnapping.

Nielson was also convicted of running a loan sharking business and enforcing it with violence. 

The Charges

Charges like these are complicated. In Nielsen’s case, he has been charged with four counts of attempted murder. In Illinois, the crime of attempted murder is equivalent to the crime of a completed or “successful” murder. Hence, attempted murder is a Class X felony, the highest that Illinois has to offer. If convicted, Nielsen will be facing a minimum of 80 years behind bars.

The charges, however, seem to indicate that there were four individuals who Nielsen attempted to kill in a group of 10. Why four? Why not 10 counts of attempted murder? Why not two counts of attempted murder for the two who sustained injuries? Where is the number four coming from and why is that the number of charges the DA chose to level at this defendant?

We cannot be certain why the DA chose to pursue four discrete charges of attempted murder as opposed to 10 or some other charge.

The Outcome

This case is still in the preliminary stages with charges having only just been announced. However, we can guess that any defense attorney would begin by attacking the appropriateness of the attempted murder charges. Since the defendant’s actions were directed at a crowd and not an individual, the appropriateness of an attempted murder charge, in this case, is unknown. The prosecution must still show that the defendant attempted to kill or injure those in the crowd. 

However, the defendant’s conduct appears black-hearted enough that he did not care whether or not anyone was killed or injured by his actions. He just wanted to make certain that the people paid for not treating his concerns about their dogs with due respect.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a serious crime in the Chicago area, then call Chicago criminal defense attorney David Freidberg at (312) 560-7100 and allow us to begin preparing your defense immediately.

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