A Pine Valley man who shot his wife and her co-worker to death in a Guatay trailer was sentenced Monday to 30 years to life in state prison.

Dennis Nelson, 38, received consecutive sentences for the March 21 murders of Robben Nelson, 31, and Johnny Cox, 29.

Nelson pleaded guilty Sept. 15 to two counts of second-degree murder. His attorney, Elliot Lande, argued that Nelson should be sentenced concurrently to 15 years to life for both offenses.

The shootings followed a confrontation at Cox’s trailer in Guatay, where Robben Nelson had been staying. Cox and Nelson both worked at the Pine Valley Inn and Restaurant.


Peterson also fined Nelson $1,000.

Testimony from witnesses at Nelson’s preliminary hearing indicated that he became enraged after finding his wife in Cox’s bedroom.

“The penalty for infidelity or marriage difficulties is not the death penalty,” argued Deputy Dist. Atty. Greg Walden.

“They were executed inside that trailer. Mr. Lande says we should give Mr. Nelson a chance. He didn’t give the victims a chance.”


Walden said both victims were shot repeatedly, but at least once in the head.

Lande argued that the shootings were “a single act of violence that took two lives.”

“This is a terrible, terrible tragedy--one Mr. Nelson will live with for the rest of his days,” his attorney said.