by Travis Mateer
How did YOUR 2023 begin? Mine kicked off with the murder trial of the guy pictured above, Charles Covey. He was accused and convicted of murdering Lee Nelson, a brutal act of violence he supposedly committed alone on November 20th, 2020, while both men were receiving services at the homeless shelter I used to work at, the Poverello Center.
Since sentencing is coming up, I got a call on Monday from Caitlin Creighton, one of the Missoula County prosecutors who successfully convinced a jury to convict Covey of murder. The call was to ask me if I would provide testimony on behalf of Lee Nelson, since they couldn’t find any family of Lee to fulfill this role. Caitlin said my name was in the paper, so that’s why she reached out to me.
Creighton seemed genuinely oblivious to my presence in the courtroom for the WHOLE TRIAL, so she didn’t have any clue that I covered this case VERY closely, and she had no clue about my feelings regarding what I observed. Well, she HAD no clue, but I gave her quite a few, hard-to-miss ones in my brief conversation with her on the phone.
The timing of this call was totally hilarious, considering I had just finished writing my post about the mindless vagina vote that helped keep Creighton’s boss, Kirsten Pabst, in power. Does Creighton now have a better idea of who I am, and what I think about the criminal justice system she gets paid to work in? Yes, yes she does.
Now, here are the links to the coverage I provided at the beginning of the year, content I’ve had to defend from legal threats, since a former collaborator of mine is now hell-bent on having a negative impact on my ability to do local reporting.
One data point before the links. I’ve been getting some fascinating books the last few weeks, but one I just picked up in Spokane highlights a theme that’s emerged in my work, and that theme is this: never underestimate the role of women. Whether it’s Jim Morrison’s girlfriend, Pam, or Sean Stevenson’s girlfriend, Ann, I think there is MUCH MORE to know about the female side of the stuff I’m investigating, and this book confirms my hunch might have some merit to it.
I hope Caitlin Creighton appreciates the brutal candor I used in explaining why she did NOT want me anywhere close to a courtroom of record where her boss is excited to do some victory laps. Nope. Not me, Caitlin, and now you have an idea why.
If YOU want to have a better idea why this subject gets me fired up, here are the links.
Charles Michael Covey Enters Not Guilty Plea In Brutal Murder Of Lee Nelson (December 7th, 2020)
Is A Killer Being Prosecuted, Or A Town Defended? (December 26th, 2022)
Lee Nelson Deserves Better Than This (January 13th, 2023)
What If The Verdict Is Not Guilty? (January 19th, 2023)
After Just 2 1/2 Hours The Verdict Is In: Guilty (January 19th, 2023)
Zoom Chron Podcast Is Back! (January 15th, 2023)
Week In Review: January 16-20 (January 22nd, 2023)
Thanks for reading!