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Edward J. Nelson; Judge Who Presided Over Loaded Gun Case

September 27, 1993

Edward J. Nelson, 76, the judge who presided over California's first prosecution of an adult charged with leaving a loaded gun where a child could find it. Nicolas Conchas owned a handgun that his 4-year-old grandson found and used to shoot himself to death. The shooting took place Jan. 1, 1992, the effective date of a state law making it a crime to leave a loaded gun in a place to which the owner knows, or should know, that a child is likely to gain access. Conchas pleaded guilty last year after Nelson reduced the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. Instead of a jail sentence, Nelson put Conchas on three years probation and ordered him to give talks to adults and children on the dangers of guns and the need to store them safely. Nelson was appointed by Gov. Edmund G. (Pat) Brown to the San Jose-Alviso branch of the Santa Clara County Municipal Court in 1959. In San Jose on Wednesday of prostate cancer.

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