June 25th, 2015
Matthew Kidder was convicted in 2016 of first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon in the death of 28-year-old Jessyka Nelson, who had been raped and strangled in her home on June 25, 2015. Kidder was sentenced to life in prison. He was also initially sentenced to 50 years for the weapon count, but a judge modified it to 20 years after being told 50 years was outside the range allowed by law. Nelson's mother found her daughter's naked body in a bathtub with the water running. A cell phone charging cord was wrapped tightly around her neck and hands. Rigor mortis had already set in. DNA from Nelson’s fingernails and the cellphone cord used to strangle her led police to Kidder, who has a criminal record, and his cellphone records showed he was at Nelson’s house the night she was killed. Prosecutors say Kidder had been on release from prison for the rape and choking of another woman when he killed Nelson. Kidder was a longtime friend of Nelson’s family. He served in the Army with her brother and offered to serve as a pallbearer at her funeral. When Kidder was found guilty, Nelson’s sister, Ashley Solberg, said “It’s shocking that he would ever do that. We all grew up like cousins.” According to the investigation, the motive for the crime was Nelson's declining of Kidder’s multiple advances via text as Kidder sought a romantic relationship in the months prior to Nelson’s death.