DA: Man formally charged in 3 deaths

COQUILLE, Ore. -- A Coos County man was in court Monday, facing formal charges after being arrested and charged by police with 3 counts of aggravated murder and arson, after authorities say he killed his wife and neighbors.

Edward Nelson, 65, found out that number has grown to 6 charges of aggravated assault, along with the 3 charges of arson.

Paul Frasier, the Coos County District Attorney, says the charges stem from certain factors. "One of the aggravating factors in Oregon, which makes it aggravated murder, if you kill multiple people in the same criminal episode," he said. "In this situation, we have three people deceased."

Among the dead are Nelson's wife and two others who are believed to be Renae and Lola Cottam, who officials are still trying to identify. "We'll be able to make a positive identification through dental records, although we're not positive we'll be able to do that given the condition of the bodies," Frasier said.

Officials say Nelson had no prior criminal record, and they believe he acted alone.

If he is indicted by a grand jury on Thursday, Nelson could find himself back in court as early as next Monday.

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