Godfrey woman came face-to-face with suspected killer

GODFREY, Ill. – Cynthia Pratt had no idea a murder had just been committed.

She was home with her longtime partner when a stranger walked right through their front door on Rosa Avenue in Godfrey. She says the intruder was calm and asked for food.

Pratt suspected he was looking for a place to hide. She later learned that trespasser was charged with the murder of beloved Godfrey Trustee Eldon “Twirp” Williams.

“When those detectives told me he was packing, I liked to die,” she said. “My knees got weak.”

Pratt’s German Shephard was in her backyard at the time. She told the trespasser she was going to get the dog. She says the intruder then walked outside and stood on the front porch. The couple called 911 and detectives quickly made an arrest.

“God bless them for making that call and getting involved because at that point we had two or three uniformed deputies in the area and there just happened to be a couple of detectives in unmarked police cars in that area,” said Madison County Sheriff John Lakin.

The suspect, Donald Nelson, is now charged with the murder of Williams.

“I can’t believe that we helped put this guy away and I hope he doesn’t get out,” said Pratt. “He, he’s just a cold-blooded killer.”

“Charges filed (Wednesday) are the product of exceptional and quick police work by the Alton Police, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, with the extraordinary assistance of local citizens,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons.

Nelson is also charged with the attempted robbery of Williams but a motive for the murder remains unclear. Village Mayor Mike McCormick was moved to tears talking about how much Williams meant to the village.

“He was always doing something good for the community,” McCormick said.