Oak Point murder

Law enforcement officials investigate a possible murder-suicide Saturday on Sage Brush Trail in the Cross Oak Ranch development, between Cross Roads and Oak Point.

This story has been corrected to show Denton police arrested Donald Nelson in January.

OAK POINT — The town’s police were hard pressed to answer questions Monday about three open investigations into the deaths of three people who were killed over the weekend in one Denton County subdivision.

All three bodies were found within hours of each other on Saturday, but the Oak Point Department of Public Safety ducked questions all weekend and on Monday — even as their residents tried to understand what was going on in their community.

In the first case, Donald Nelson is said to have killed Maria Nelson and then himself in a “murder-suicide” at about 7 a.m. in the 8700 block of Sage Brush Trail in the Cross Oak Ranch development. In the other, Anees Raza was arrested and charged with murder after he allegedly shot his father, Jawaid Khan Raza, to death at a residence in the 8900 block of Tucker Street at about 3:20 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, it has become clear that Donald Nelson has a deeper history with law enforcement than was indicated by Oak Point police’s Facebook post confirming their deaths. Donald Nelson was arrested by the Denton Police Department in January on a weapon charge, but that case was never forwarded to the Denton County District Attorney’s Office, a source said Monday.

Sgt. Brian Howard, currently the highest-ranking police official in Oak Point, avoided questions about this history on Monday. He said to ask Chief Michael Shackleford about that. But Shackleford was nowhere to be found all day Monday.

Around midday Monday, department secretary Alexis Duncan said Shackleford was not at work and didn’t know when he would return. She offered two reporters a seat in the department’s lobby to wait on him until he arrived that day.

Duncan also forwarded questions to Oak Point City Manager Stephen Ashley, who hours later said Shackleford was on medical leave and that Howard was actually the one in charge of the department. Ashley said Shackleford would not be back at work for an unspecified amount of time.

Back at the police department, Howard refused to answer questions. Duncan, after speaking with Howard in his office, said Howard was “on a call” and that he was not available to answer questions.

One officer, who identified himself only as Officer Null, said a questioning reporter would be escorted out of the police department and given a criminal trespass warning as the lobby’s business hours were ending.

These questions were being asked since midday Monday. When asked how Howard could be reached, Null said answering questions was not an urgent enough issue to have Howard be reached after the lobby closed.

“Your news story is not a pressing matter after hours,” Null said.

DALTON LAFERNEY can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @daltonlaferney.

Recommended for you