Life in prison for triple slaying: How the killer's alibi unraveled

Life in prison for triple slaying: How the killer's alibi unraveled
Edward Nelson sits in Coos County Circuit Court during a previous court appearance

COQUILLE, Ore. - Edward Nelson wanted to divorce his wife Kathleen, but he didn't want to pay her any money.

He came up with a plan.

First, he drove to Idaho, where his father lives. He booked a hotel room for a week.

Nelson only stayed one night, driving back to his Bridge home in Coos County, Oregon, last June.

He paid with cash on his way back so his movements would be harder to trace.

When he got home, he shot his wife Kathleen in the head, killing her.

He then went next door and killed his neighbors, Renae and Lola Cottam.

Nelson then tried to set both homes on fire.

His objective: Make it look like a random psycho killer had swept through while he was out of town.

But the gasoline evaporated.

And a neighbor spotted the smoke - and then saw Nelson's truck driving off.

Nelson pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated murder. He was sentenced Monday to three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.