Man pleads guilty to triple slaying, arson

Man pleads guilty to triple slaying, arson
Edward Nelson sits in Coos County Circuit Court on Monday.

COQUILLE, Ore. - A 65-year-old accused of murdering his wife and neighbors before setting two homes ablaze in June will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The slaying took the lives of Katherine Nelson and Renae and Lola Cottam on June 15, 2013.

In pleading guilty to three counts of aggravated murder Wednesday, Edward Lawrence Nelson agreed to a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole on each count, to be served one after another.

A neighbor passing by that day saw Nelson's pickup truck driving from the burning houses, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case.

Later at the Coos County Sheriff's Office, "Mr. Nelson confessed that he shot and killed Renae and Lola Cottam and his wife Kathleen Nelson," the affidavit said. "He also admitted that he had set all three structures described above on fire (two houses and the neighbors' shop building), and that the clothes and shoes he had been wearing at the time of the fire were located in the truck he was driving when stopped by Oregon State Police."

Nelson also told investigators he used two different guns to kill the three people.