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Conviction upheld in slaying triggered by pizza, rent | News

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Conviction upheld in slaying triggered by pizza, rent

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Comstock Park man who fatally beat his cousin in a dispute over pizza, then fled with the victim’s wallet and cellphone  “because he was scared,’’ failed to convince a three-judge panel he was acting in self-defense.

Blood splatters in their Alpine Township apartment were consistent with Brandon Nelson being struck several times while on the ground, the Court of Appeals cited in upholding the second-degree murder conviction of 26-year-old Kyle Alan Wilson.

Wilson, who is serving a 46- to 150-year sentence, is no stranger to prison. He moved in with Nelson in 2013 after serving more than five years for killing a 15-year-old Barry County boy in a dispute over $80.

A Kent County jury convicted Wilson of second-degree murder in May 2014. In addition to murder, he was found guilty of possession of methadone and larceny. Jurors did not know of the Barry County conviction. 

Wilson, who was 17 at the time, stabbed Jordon Nink with a five-inch hunting knife as they feuded over an $80 debt involving a traffic fine.

The stabbing occurred at Wilson’s home on Saddler Road in Orangeville Township. He was sentenced to 3 to 15 years in prison and was released in April, 2013. With no other place to go, he moved in with Nelson at York Creek Apartments.

Tension mounted between the pair; five months later Nelson was dead.

Wilson told investigators he and his cousin got into an argument over pizza and rent. Nelson, 33, charged at him, shouting he wanted to kill Wilson, according to earlier testimony.

When Nelson charged a second time, Wilson said he hit him twice in the side of the head, sending Nelson to the floor. He denied hitting Nelson when he was down. Nelson was snoring when Wilson said he left the apartment. When he returned, Nelson was dead.

After fruitlessly performing CPR, he took Nelson’s phone and wallet because he was scared. He did not call 911.

The victim’s wallet was found near Wilson when he was arrested. An autopsy showed that Nelson died from repeated blows to the head. He was also struck between 7 and 13 times in the face. The injuries were inconsistent with someone being struck while standing; blood splatters suggest he was struck several times while on the floor, a forensic pathologist testified at trial.

Jurors had the option of considering self-defense and the lesser offense of involuntary manslaughter, which is an intentional killing committed in the heat of the moment.

After hearing testimony for two weeks, jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes before finding Wilson guilty of second degree murder in Nelson's Sept. 14, 2013, death.

In his appeal, Wilson contends there was insufficient evidence to support the murder verdict.