CLEARFIELD – A New Millport man was sentenced to 20-40 years in state prison Monday morning for running over and killing a DuBois woman while driving a stolen vehicle.
Joshua Jeffrey Nelson, 32, opted to plead guilty before Judge Paul E. Cherry instead of taking his case to a week-long jury trial in Clearfield County Court.
He pleaded guilty to third-degree murder; aggravated assault, three counts; burglary; theft by unlawful taking; receiving stolen property; simple assault, three counts; resisting arrest; and two summaries.
Nelson entered an open plea of guilt (with all terms up to the court) and received the maximum sentence. It will run consecutive to his current sentence of three-10 years for a parole violation.
The charges stem from incidents that occurred on Brown Street on Aug. 12, 2015. After stealing a vehicle, Nelson struck and killed Betsy Andryka and assaulted two other women at a nearby residence.
He also engaged in a struggle and resisted police before he was finally taken into custody.
Prior to Nelson’s sentencing, a relative of Andryka addressed the court saying Andryka had fought a courageous battle with cancer and won prior to her death.
Andryka was deprived of feeling the joy of the birth of her first grandchild. Andryka’s 96-year-old mother must also live with what happened to her daughter every single day, she said.
Nelson’s attorney, Michael Marshall of the Public Defender’s Office, described the case as “horrific” and “tragic,” adding something happened to Nelson that caused this “bizarre series of events.”
“He feels as bad as anybody about it,” he said, “but I can’t explain it and he can’t explain it.”
Nelson became very emotional and could barely speak as he read a letter he’d written to the victim’s family. He said words cannot describe how “truly and deeply sorry” he is for what happened Aug. 12, 2015.
He said he wished he could give his own life, so that the family could have Andryka back. He said he understands that they will probably never forgive him for the pain they’ve had to endure.
Nelson went on to say: “That’s not who I am” in regards to the incidents that day. He said he will forever seek ways to “right his wrong.”
“… I hope you think about what you did to Mrs. Andryka every day,” Cherry told Nelson just before his sentencing.
After court proceedings Monday, Shaw described this case as highly complicated due to the mental health issue, which is why it’s taken so long to get to this point.
He said approximately 26 witnesses were subpoenaed to testify at trial, including experts on Nelson’s mental health and the side effects of his prescribed medications.
Shaw said that the commonwealth is satisfied with the outcome in this case, which has also brought relief and justice to the Andryka family.
Shaw also believes that Nelson is “genuinely remorseful,” adding he showed immediate concern at the scene when he asked “did I kill someone.”