44 year-old Charles Covey, who also went by the alias Jesse Nitcy, is in the Missoula County Jail on $1 million bond, charged with allegedly bludgeoning a wheelchair-bound man to death with a baseball bat on a trail near the Clark Fork River.

Covey appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Wednesday before Justice of the Peace Alex Beal.

Deputy County Attorney Brian Lowney was the prosecutor in the case.

“He was charged with deliberate homicide,” said Lowney. “The affidavit alleges that he murdered a victim by the name of Lee Roy Nelson, near the Riverfront Trail on the north side of the Clark Fork River near the old parking garage of St. Patrick Hospital.”

Lowney explained to Judge Beal why the state was seeking bail of $1 million.

“Our request was based on the nature of the crime,” he said. “This victim was a man in a wheelchair. Our evidence suggests that he was a bludgeoned with a billy club that led to his death. In addition, Mr. Covey has a long criminal history throughout the Pacific Northwest, including several violent offenses in Oregon, as well as some escape convictions in Oregon. He was most recently convicted prior information of felony theft and burglary in Idaho in March of 2020.”

Lowney described the possible penalty for deliberate homicide.

“For any deliberate homicide, there's a possible life imprisonment as a penalty,” he said. “There is a minimum of 10 years in prison but there could be up to life in prison. I appeared at the hearing so it was my request specifically, and I requested a $1 million bond, and Judge Beal did impose that bond.”

According to court documents, Covey pushed the victim in his wheelchair to a secluded spot and beat him several times over the head with a silver metal baseball bat.

Covey is in the Missoula County Detention Center on $1 million bond, and his first Missoula County District Court appearance will be December 7.


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