UPDATE: Cambridge Murder

UPDATED Sunday, July 13 --- 1:10pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - An Illinois man accused of killing a Cambridge real estate agent earlier this year has changed his plea.

Thirty-four-year-old James A. Hole originally pleaded not guilty to a charge of killing the 71-year-old agent as she showed a house in March.

His attorney asked a judge Friday to change the plea to not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

The judge ordered that the Brookfield, Illinois man undergo a psychological evaluation.

Hole is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, arson and burglary.

The criminal complaint says he admitted strangling and beating Ann B. Nelson and taking valuables from her purse.

A message left at the office of Hole's defense attorney late Saturday night was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.


UPDATED Friday --- April 4, 2008 --- 4:30pm

Ill. man ordered to stand trial in real estate agent's death

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) -- A judge has ordered a 34 year-old Illinois man to stand trial in the killing of a real estate agent who was showing him a house for sale.

James A. Hole of Brookfield, Illinois, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide, arson and burglary in the March 18th death of 71 year-old Ann B. Nelson of Cambridge.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Jacqueline Erwin ruled Friday that prosecutors presented enough evidence during a 90-minute preliminary hearing to justify the charges. Hole remains in jail on $1 million bond.

District Attorney Dave Wambach says no trial date was immediately set.

According to the criminal complaint, Hole told investigators he struck Nelson with a long metal object, started a fire and took valuables from her purse.



UPDATED Friday --- April 4, 2008 --- 12:35pm

It's been a little over a week since family and friends laid Ann Nelson to rest.

The man accused of killing her is scheduled to appear in court.

A preliminary hearing will be held Friday afternoon in Jefferson County for 34 year-old James Hole.

The Brookfield, Illinois man is accused of killing the 71 year-old real estate agent last month.

Investigators say Hole asked to look at a home in Cambridge.

A criminal complaint says when Nelson asked why he wanted to see a home he did not have enough buy.

Hole became angry -- he hit and strangled Nelson before setting the bedroom on fire.


Update Posted Friday, March 21 --- 1:20pm

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A real estate agency will use the buddy system when showing houses following the slaying of one of its agents.

Barry Luce, an owner of RE/MAX Community Realty based in Lake Mills, says it's asking all the firm's agents to buddy up in pairs for a while when showing a house. It also wants them to meet new prospective buyers at the office first.

The agency is acting in response to the slaying Tuesday of 71-year-old Ann Nelson of Cambridge. A suspect has been charged in the case.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association has sent an e-mail to agents around the state with links to written materials and videos concerning safety strategies.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved


Update Posted Friday, March 21 --- 8:30am

Obituary from Olson-Holzhuter-Cress:
Ann B. Nelson, age 71, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, March 18. Services celebrating Ann's life are being planned for Tuesday, March 25 at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 701 W. Water Street in Cambridge at 11:00am. The family will receive friends and family on Monday, March 24 from 4:00pm until 8:00pm at the funeral home. A rosary will be recited at 7:45pm. Burial will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery in the Town of Bristol. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make an expression of sympathy are encouraged to direct memorials to: Alzheimer's Association; or St. Pius X CCW in Cambridge. A complete obituary will appear in Sunday's paper.


Update Posted Thursday, March 20 --- 9:11pm

"She was the nicest friend you could ever possibly have and she did so much around here for the church," says Phyllis Zaher.

Those who new Ann Nelson best will remember her dedication to church. A member of St. Pius the Tenth, her friends and family gathered Thursday to remember and pray for a woman who once joined them there.

"We'd see her every morning cause there are a few of us who'd go to church every morning and she was always there when you got there and it seems her place is vacant now."

On the outside, cars filled the parking lot as Nelson's priest welcomed members who attended. On the inside, her loved ones shared their memories of her while their priest led them in prayer.

"She's with all the saints and angels in heaven," says St. Pius X pastor, Father William Vernon. "We're praying for God's strength and peace for her family that God give them his strength and peace a peace that the world cannot give and the world cannot take away."

Also in attendance at the prayer service were Nelson's co-workers. A Realtor for 10 years, she was well known in her profession.

"I've gone to open houses that she's had," says Realtor Kim Schrodel. "She was extremely pleasant, very professional, very well liked by all Realtor members that I've spoken too."

Nelson was found dead at a home she was showing on Tuesday in Cambridge. With the news of her murder still fresh on their minds those closest to her hope to find closure.

"I don't know what else to do and if i could just help this way it'll help me too," says Zaher.


Update Posted Thursday, March 20 --- 3:45pm

NOTE: The following information is taken from the criminal complaint against James Hole in the murder case of Ann Nelson. Some of the information is GRAPHIC and may not be suitable for all readers.

- At 9:22pm Tuesday, one of Ann Nelson's daughters called the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. She said that her mother had a 4:30pm appointment at N4309 Poplar Avenue in the Town of Oakland. She said she did locate her mother's vehicle in the driveway. She tried to open the door to the house, but it was locked.

- Cell records show that a call was made to Ann Nelson's cell phone at 4:13pm. That number belonged to James Hole.

- Criminal history records reveal that James Hole was charged for an aggravated criminal sexual assault/felony, and that Hole was incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, IL from 7/97 until he was discharged on 1/06.

- Excerpt from the criminal complaint: "In a further interview of James Hole, Hole told Detective Gray there was a point in the showing in which they discussed the price. That Realtor Nelson questioned why he was looking at a home that he would not purchase. The next thing he knew he was upset and strangling Ann Nelson. He did strangle her with her scarf."

- Excerpt from the criminal complaint: "Hole said he did not intend to kill Ann Nelson but did want to knock her out in order to make her stop screaming. Hole said that he left the residence, but did think about the evidence or fingerprints he may have left behind and returned to the residence with the intent on starting a fire in order to destroy the evidence."

- Excerpt from the criminal complaint: "When he returned he saw that Ann Nelson still was able to move and was still conscious and that when he started the fire he thought that she would be able to get out of the bedroom that she was in when he started the fire. He did further admit that he did shut the door to the room with Ann Nelson inside of it when he left.

- Excerpt from the criminal complaint: "Hole did state that he used a lighter which he always keeps in his pocket in order to start a Kleenex box on fire with the intent of using the box to start the bed on fire."


Update Posted Thursday, March 20 --- 2:00pm

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) -- A $1 million cash bond is set for an Illinois man charged in the slaying of a 71-year-old Wisconsin real estate agent who was found dead inside a home she intended to show him.

Thirty-four-year-old James Hole of Brookfield, Illinois, is charged with first-degree intentional homicide, arson and burglary in the death of Ann Nelson of Cambridge.

Jefferson County authorities say she was found dead Tuesday night next to a smoldering mattress in a smoke-filled room of a rural town of Oakland home.

Investigators say an autopsy concluded Nelson died of smoke inhalation, but she also had head injuries.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge William Hue set the bond and then scheduled a preliminary hearing April 4th before Judge Jacqueline Erwin.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


Update Posted Thursday, March 20 --- 10:30am

Here is the latest information from the Associated Press:

Jefferson County sheriff's officials say they've arrested a man for the murder of a real estate agent who was found dead in the house she was showing him.

Sheriff's Detective Sergeant Lawrence Lee says the man was arrested after he was brought in for questioning last night. Thirty-four-year-old James Hole of Brookfield, Illinois is being held in the Jefferson County Jail. He has not been formally charged.

Lee says 71-year-old Ann Nelson met the man at the rural house in the town of Oakland. When officers were called to check on the property, Nelson was found dead in a smoke-filled bedroom next to a smoldering mattress Tuesday night.

Investigators say an autopsy determined Nelson died of smoke inhalation, but she also had severe blunt force trauma to the head. Lee says some type of weapon was recovered, but he declined to be more specific.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


****Ann Nelson's bio from the RE/MAX Community Realty Website:

Living and working in the rural area of Southeastern Dane County has been a dream come true. 47 years of married life have enabled me to help my husband, Akie, with the work on our farm while raising our six children, 3 daughters and 3 sons. We have been blessed with 16 grandchildren who have a special place in our lives and in our hearts. Since 1998 I have had the pleasure of working the Real Estate Industry. It has brought into my life a sea of new clients and fellow Real Estate Agents. Church and community are important aspects in my life and it is rewarding to be involved in situations to help others who have needs. During the school year, I spend time helping grade school children improve their reading skills.

Assisting people through the process of buying or selling a home is of great interest to me. My knowledge of the area together with the sphere of community and church projects I have been a part of, qualifies me to be a Real Estate Agent that can take you first class from start to finish in buying or selling your home. Please call with questions or concerns.

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