Given a choice of sitting on Death Row, or life in prison, which would you choose?

OK, so yeah, I know you’re thinking, “what the hell was wrong with that guy?” Me? I thought the same thing. I guess the torture of knowing that your days are short can get to you, forcing you to, well, take matters into your own hands. I mean that’s what severely depressed people do, right? Nobody in history has ever been so happy that they wanted to end it all, right?

So, I’m pretty sure sitting on death row isn’t quite one of those happy happy joy joy situations one wants to be in. I mean, who wants to die, or put to death like a horse with a broken leg, right? If given a chance, I’m pretty sure everybody would rather live the rest of their natural lives, be it in prison, or out of prison, as an alternative to sitting on death row. Well, not so fast, folks. Check out the story of 27yr old Brian Nelson of Will County Illinois:
A death row inmate who sneaked into his estranged girlfriend’s Will County farmhouse in 2002 and beat her and three others to death with a crowbar apparently killed himself today because he was scared of being moved into the prison system’s general population.

Brian Nelson, 27, who was convicted of murder, home invasion and aggravated arson in 2006, was found dead in his Pontiac Correctional Center cell about 2:30 a.m., according to a Department of Corrections spokeswoman. Other sources said it appeared Nelson had hanged himself.

Nelson was scheduled to appear at the Will County Courthouse on Friday and likely be re-sentenced to life in prison. In December, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld his convictions but threw out his death sentence, finding the trial judge had wrongly removed a juror opposed to the death penalty.

The convicted killer had hoped for a new trial or to remain on death row, his attorney said.

“As nuts as it sounds, he preferred the death sentence over natural life,” said Steve Haney, his Joliet attorney. “He had indicated he would rather have stayed on death row, with the definite potential of dying by lethal injection, than to live the rest of his natural life in the midst of the general population in prison.”

Nelson, whose stepfather for a time was far south suburban Beecher’s police chief, was described during his trial as an emotionally stunted man obsessed with his girlfriends.

A woman who dated Nelson for six months at Beecher Elementary testified that he shot her name into his chest with a pellet gun and carved “Megan4eva” on his arm. When she tried to break up with him, Nelson threatened to kill them both and handed her bullets to take home.

The week of the murders in May 2002, Nelson called his former girlfriend Sara Tennant 129 times.

The 19-year-old Joliet Junior College student called him back to confront him after Nelson broke into her car, stealing $80 and a picture of her new boyfriend, according to trial testimony.

On May 31, Nelson sneaked into the Tennants’ farmhouse on a rural road in Custer Park. When Sara refused to take him back, Nelson said he loved her and then beat her to death with a crowbar in the bedroom basement she shared with their 15-month-old daughter, who was later found unharmed outside the house.

Nelson then went upstairs, beating and stabbing to death Sara’s father, Harold Tennant, 46, and his girlfriend Jean Bookwalter, 46. He then killed Sara’s brother Eric Tennant, 16, as he slept in a recliner after a long day of farm work.

Afterward, Nelson set the family and their house on fire.

Then he left a chilling cell-phone message for Sara.

“Sara, I love you,” he said in the recording. “Please call me. I don’t want you to be mad at me … I don’t feel good right now … bye, honey.” (source)Well, not exactly the most mentally stable sounding person, was he? Now I’ve heard of prisoners who fear for their safety who would rather live in segregation than general population. But, up until now, I’ve never heard of anyone willing to die than live in general population. Sure the ass raping thing would be tough to swallow as opposed to being on death row; especially when there are guys like Fleece Johnson around. But when you kill four people in one home, I don’t think you have any leverage in the whole deal.

And just think, early in his case he tried to play the “my confession was coerced,” card. Now here’s the question: Given that he took his own life, was his debt to society paid? Should society be pissed off because justice wasn’t served? How should the fam,ily members feel about this? If it were you, even though you cannot do anything about it, how exactly would you feel? Would you feel cheated?

[Read Supreme Court Decision here]