SACRAMENTO, CA - Ellie Nesler, the Sonora woman who gained national attention when she shot her son's accused molester in a Tuolumne County courtroom 15 years ago, died Friday after a long bout with cancer, family members said.
Nesler's daughter Rebecca Nesler told News10 her mother died Friday at the UC Davis Medical Center. The elder Nesler had suffered from Stage 4 cancer for the past four years while living with her daughter in Elk Grove. She was admitted to UC Davis last Monday.
Nesler gained notoriety in 1993 when she pulled a gun in a Jamestown courtroom and fired five shots into Daniel Driver. Driver was accused of molesting four boys, including Nesler's then-12-year-old Willie.
The shooting sparked a national debate on vigilantism. Nesler was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and served three years of a 10-year sentence before successfully appealing based on jury misconduct.
Nesler was back in the news in 2002 when she was sentenced to six years in prison after trying to buy 10,000 decongestant tablets from an undercover police officer. The pills contain pseudoephedrine, a chemical used to make methamphetamine.
At the time, Nesler said she wanted to fight the felony drug charges, but didn't think she could get a fair trial.
While serving her sentence, Nesler was diagnosed with breast cancer and said her condition had taken a turn for the worse.
"I'm in bad shape," Nesler told News10's Tim Daly in 2006. Nesler predicted she had no more than "a few years" of life left.
Willie Nesler, who led a troubled life after his mother went to prison, was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2005 after beating Tuolumne County neighbor David Davis to death in a dispute over tools. Nesler was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
Rebecca Nesler said her brother was able to speak to their mother by phone last week to say their final goodbyes.
A funeral service was tentatively scheduled next week. ..News Source.. by Jason Kobely
December 28, 2008