The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed an appeals court decision that threw out the murder conviction of a Des Moines drug dealer. Calvin Nelson Junior was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting Michael Collins to death outside a Des Moines house in June of 2007.
Court records say Collins had come to the home to buy crack, but Nelson told his girlfriend he thought Collins was an undercover cop and shot him. Prosecutors called a Des Moines police officer to testify during the trial to show Nelson had dealt drugs in the past.
Nelson appealed the decision saying the officer’s testimony should not have been allowed because it would cause prejudice against him for other acts not related to the shooting. The state appeals court agreed and threw out Nelson’s conviction.
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled the officer’s testimony was admissible because it showed that Nelson was a drug dealer,and was relevant to the case, because a drug dealer would be more inclined to intentionally kill an undercover narcotics officer who could later identify and arrest him.
The Supreme Court said with all the other evidence in the case, the court does not believe the jury decided the case based on the mere fact Nelson was a drug dealer. The high court vacated the appeals court decision.