Murderers Next Door

By: Tina Stein
By: Tina Stein

"Yeah I'm sorry I did it and I'm still serving that sentence in my mind and I can't get it out of my mind."

Twenty-one years ago, Kieth Nielson was charged with murder for being a part of what he calls a robbery gone bad. It was his co-conspirator's bullet, that killed a friend's father and landed Nielson a cell in the Illinois State Prison System. He's been home in Rockford now for eight years and says his chilling past is no secret to neighbors.

"Most people know me and know where I come from and I'm not gonna hide it i spent time in prison and I wouldn't dare ever go back," Nielson says.

Nielson's record is available on line through the Winnebago County Circuit Court. However, unless you're looking for him his past can be kept concealed as much as he wants. That's because unlike sex offenders, there is no registry for convicted murderers.

"Actually murderers have one of the lowest rates of recidivism most murderers kill people they know," says State's Attorney Paul Logli.

Logli says sex offenders have the highest probability of re-offending. He says many sex offenders have mental illness and doctor's have a tough time treating them. So by requiring offenders to register their address and current photo, law enforcement can keep track of their whereabouts.

"I'd rather be a murderer than a child offender," Nielson says.

Nielson says he thinks murderers should register with the state. He witnessed former fellow inmates discuss committing additional murders once released from prison. Reason enough he's willing to be tracked.

"If you learned your lesson really truly learned you lesson and didn't get in trouble again and they still knew where you were I didn't care at least they know I'm not in trouble," Nielson says.

There's no plan to start up a murder registration. Logli says that's due to a lack of resources and not a big enough problem with repeat offenders.

Senator Dave Syverson says there was legislation proposed last year to start a murder registration. However it failed because there's not enough reason to track murderer's once let out of prison.


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