Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Austin Richard Moores Nelson, 19, with murder in the first degree, burglary in the first degree and animal cruelty in the first degree for shooting his ex-girlfriend's mother, Teresa Ryan, to death and killing the family dog. Moores Nelson pleaded not guilty and is being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
"Teresa was well-known and well-liked in the courthouse," said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. "This hit home for many of us."
In September 2015, Ryan's daughter began dating Moores Nelson. Ryan learned of the relationship and told Moores Nelson to stay away from her daughter. Moores Nelson continued his relationship with Ryan's daughter.
On Jan. 8, 2016, Ryan's daughter broke up with Moores Nelson, telling him she did not want to continue lying to her mother. The following week, Moores Nelson sent text messages to Ryan's daughter, threatening to damage her car. Later that day, her car was vandalized in the school parking lot.
The following week, Ryan called police and reported that her daughter received text messages from Moores Nelson, who was threatening to post photos and videos online of him and Ryan's daughter having sex. Later that day, the photos and videos appeared on Facebook and Instagram.
On the morning of Jan. 18, Moores Nelson approached Ryan in her driveway and shot her three times in the chest and back. Then, he broke into Ryan's home and shot the family dog. Ryan's daughter was not home at the time of the murder.
Moores Nelson fled the scene and was arrested a short time later at his grandfather's home.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office