DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - A previously-convicted felon is now charged in the shooting death of a former police chief in northwestern Minnesota earlier this month.
The Becker County Attorney's office on Thursday charged 54-year-old Morris Silas Dodd, Jr. of rural Ogema with second degree manslaughter and being a felon in possession of a weapon in connection with the Nov. 10 incident, which claimed the life of 53-year-old Jay Clayton Nelson. Nelson was former police chief of Lake Park, Minnesota.
A criminal complaint explains that Nelson was found dead in his vehicle in rural Becker County that day, and in a wooded area nearby investigators located a spent shell casing, a cigarette butt and footprints. A witness described seeing a deer hunter with a long beard in the vicinity where the evidence was gathered,
Further investigation identified Dodd, Jr. as a potential suspect. When interviewed, he admitted to being in the area where Nelson was shot, and told detectives he fired a shot at a fawn "just to spook it." He denied seeing Nelson or shooting at a vehicle. The defendant's .30-06 deer rifle and ammo were seized as part of the investigation.
Lab technicians for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were able to match the bullet recovered from Nelson's body to Dodd's gun and the shell casing found in the woods.
Morris Dodd, Jr. was previously convicted of criminal sexual assault, and is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.