A Theodore man accused of trying to lure an 11-year-old girl with text messages is fit to stand trial, a federal judge in Mobile ruled Monday.
Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Butler Jr. endorsed the findings of a prison doctor at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, where the judge had sent Richard Brooks Nelson to be evaluated. Defense attorney Richard Shields said he was disappointed by the ruling. He said he asked for the mental evaluation based on his conversations with his client.
"Out of an abundance of caution, I think he needed an evaluation," Shields said.
A federal grand jury in Mobile indicted Nelson in August on charges that he tried to entice a minor for sex after Mobile police arrested him earlier that month.
A criminal complaint accuses Nelson of sending text messages to the girl and trying to arrange a face-to-face meeting for sex. In a phone call with an undercover law enforcement officer, the complaint alleges, Nelson "explained that if it was the child's 'first time' she would bleed and they would need a red shirt to conceal the blood.”
According to an affidavit filed in federal court by a U.S. Secret Service agent, a law enforcement investigator posed as the girl and spoke with Nelson on the phone. He allegedly said he wanted to meet the child and engage in activity "like how mommies and daddies make babies.”
Nelson and the undercover officer agreed to meet at Sage Avenue and Ralston Road near Airport Boulevard, according to the affidavit, which states that the defendant showed up wearing a red shirt.
The case has been on hold since October, when Butler ordered the psychological evaluation for Nelson. Shields said he believes the judge will set a trial date by the end of the week. He said he has not focused on the facts of the case and did not want to comment about it until he has had an opportunity to discuss it with prosecutors.
Court records indicate that Nelson was convicted of third-degree rape in New York and registered as a sex offender in Alabama in May 2007.
Shields previously has said he believes the New York conviction pertains to consensual sex with an underage teenager. He said his client was originally from Mobile County and had decided to return here.