Man sentenced to life in prison for murdering ex-girlfriend inside Canton-area Bob Evans

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 9:45 AM EDT
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STARK COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - Richard Nelson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by a judge on Monday afternoon for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Rebecca Rogers, 38, inside a Canton Bob Evans on April 16.

“I’m not going to be a pawn for anybody,” Stark County Common Pleas Judge Frank Forchione said before delivering his sentence, “The community is tired of the killings, the community is tired of shots being fired, the community is tired of young people dying, tired of the bloodshed and tired of broken hearts.”

Judge Forchione was unmoved by Nelson’s statement in court.

“There is nothing I can do to bring her back but I would just like the court to understand I am very sorry and remorseful,” Nelson said.

Judge Forchione pointed to the facts that Rebecca Rogers left behind 4 children and terrorized up to 25 people who were in the restaurant when Nelson shot Rogers as other factors in determining the sentence.

Nelson, 54, walked into the restaurant on Lesh Street NE and shot and killed Rogers, who was a waitress.

According to police, this was a domestic violence-related murder.

Canton Police Chief Jack Angelo said when Rogers realized who was walking in the restaurant she tried to get away.

“When she saw him, she ran to the back of the restaurant and he began shooting at her, she was struck and we got first aid as quickly as we could and she was transported but she did pass away,” Chief Angelo said.

Officers said after the shooting Nelson fled, but was arrested several hours later in East Canton.

A jury convicted Richard James Nelson of aggravated murder on Oct. 22, 2021.
A jury convicted Richard James Nelson of aggravated murder on Oct. 22, 2021.((Source: Canton police))

“All I can tell you is she is a beautiful person, an outgoing person an amazing mother, grandmother, employee, a beautiful heart just a beautiful person all around,” said former co-worker Misty Basham.

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