COQUILLE, Oregon — An Oregon prosecutor says a retired U.S. Border Patrol agent's desire to avoid a costly divorce led him to kill his wife and a neighbor couple last summer in the rural Coos County community of Bridge.
On Monday, Circuit Judge Richard Barron sentenced 65-year-old Edward Nelson to three consecutive life sentences without parole for the June 15 slayings of his wife, Kathleen, and neighbors Renae and Lola Cottam.
Nelson pleaded guilty to aggravated murder in November, avoiding a possible death sentence.
Nelson told the Cottam family he hoped they would take comfort in knowing he would die in prison and, in his words, "burn in hell" for his crimes.
County District Attorney Paul Frasier says Nelson gave investigators a detailed account of the murders shortly after his arrest. Frasier says Nelson decided a divorce would be too costly so he fatally shot his wife. The prosecutor says Nelson decided he could divert attention from himself by killing his neighbors.
Nelson also set fire to both houses.