- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015

KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) - A mental competency exam may be conducted for a 44-year-old Arizona death row inmate who wants no further appeals in his case stemming from the 2006 beating death of his 14-year-old niece in Kingman.

Brad Lee Nelson was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the 2006 killing of Amber Leann Graff. The Arizona Supreme Court in 2012 decided an automatic appeal by upholding Nelson’s conviction and sentence.

Nelson is now asking to represent himself, not have any further appeals and accept his death sentence.

Judge Richard Weiss of Mohave County Superior Court last week ordered prosecution and defense attorneys to file arguments by Feb. 20 on whether Nelson must have a mental health exam.

The development was first reported by the Mohave Valley Daily News (https://goo.gl/rYcKgf ).

Nelson was caring for his niece and a 13-year-old nephew in a Kingman motel room while the children’s mother, Nelson’s half-sister, was in the hospital.

According to the state Supreme Court’s account of the case, on the day of the killing, Nelson walked to a store and bought a rubber mallet. He returned to the room and struck the niece in the head with the mallet and covered her up, while the nephew slept.

The girl was found bleeding from the forehead and naked from the waist down, and her pants and socks had DNA from her and Nelson.

Nelson was charged with murder and child molestation.

During Nelson’s trial, the judge granted a defense motion for acquittal on the child molestation charge after the medical examiner determined there was no evidence of sexual penetration.

In an effort to spare Nelson a death sentence, his attorneys acknowledged he killed the girl but said it was not premeditated.

However, the jury convicted Nelson of premeditated first-degree murder and then determined that he should be sentenced to death.

There was evidence that Nelson, who was 36 at the time of the killing, was infatuated with his niece. He wrote her a letter indicating that about nine months before the killing, the Kingman Daily Miner (https://goo.gl/YASQTO ) reported.

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