Grand jury indicts Kingman social studies teacher

KAHS instructor faces felony charges for sexual conduct with 17-year-old

Michael Nelson

Michael Nelson

KINGMAN - High school social studies teacher Michael Wade Nelson was indicted on 12 felony counts related to the alleged sexual assault of a minor on Thursday in what proved to be a busy day for the Mohave County Grand Jury.

The Kingman Police Department arrested Nelson, 46, Nov. 18 and charged him with six felony counts that allege he engaged in sexual conduct with a 17-year-old girl. She is not a student at the Kingman Academy of Learning, which is where Nelson taught.

According to police, Nelson is a friend of the girl's family, who live out of state. Kingman Police spokeswoman Jennifer Sochocki told the Miner last week that a brief investigation revealed Nelson and the girl allegedly engaged in sexual conduct a number of times at various locations in Kingman since August.

Sochocki said the investigation did not uncover any evidence that Nelson was inappropriately involved with Academy students.

The grand jury returned an indictment on two counts of sexual abuse, four counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual conduct with a minor, one count of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and one count of attempted sexual assault.

He is being held in the Mohave County Jail on a $300,000 bond. The Academy placed Nelson on administrative leave pending a resolution to the case shortly after he was arrested.

His arraignment is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Dec. 2 before Judge Steven Conn.

In another high-profile case, the grand jury indicted a 23-year-old man who allegedly forced a Mohave Valley bookstore employee to strip off nearly all of her clothes before he struck her in the head with a hookah pipe and fled with an unspecified amount of cash on Nov. 6.

The employee, who was treated for a head wound, fled to a nearby business after a customer entered and interrupted the alleged crime in progress.

One week later, Marcus Thomas Cruz, a transient with a last known address in Needles, Calif., was taken into custody in a Mohave Valley parking lot after Mohave County deputies were tipped off to his whereabouts.

The grand jury returned an indictment on one count of armed robbery, one count of kidnapping, one count of attempted sexual assault and one count of aggravated assault.

His arraignment will take place at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday before Judge Derek Carlisle.

In yet another high-profile case, the grand jury indicted Rocky Tairit Perez, 23, on a host of felony charges related to the beating and robbery of a 59-year-old man and other alleged crimes.

Perez, of Fort Mohave, was arrested earlier this month following a weeklong search after he allegedly beat up his friend after he was told to leave his home. Perez, say deputies, took the man's driver's license, bank card, cash, car keys and cell phone after beating him, and then threatened to beat him again if he didn't drive him to an ATM to withdraw more of his cash.

He reportedly released the man after he drove Perez to a Bullhead City hotel.

As deputies closed in several days later, Perez allegedly stole a car from a Bullhead City woman and was chased by law enforcement. He reportedly abandoned the vehicle with a flat tire and was arrested later in the day while walking in Mohave Valley.

Perez was allegedly in possession of dangerous drugs and the associated paraphernalia when he was taken into custody.

The grand jury indicted Perez on seven felony counts: aggravated assault, burglary in the first degree, misconduct involving weapons, theft of means of transportation, unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement vehicle, possession of dangerous drugs (methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia (methamphetamine).

His arraignment is set for 11 a.m. Dec. 2 in front of Judge Rick Williams.

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