Skip to Content

Woman acquitted of murder ‘overwhelmed’ by verdict, attorney says

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- One of the defense attorneys for a woman acquitted of murder in the death of her U.S. Army Captain boyfriend opens up about the trial and what's next for his client.

Nelson acquitted

ABC-7 reported on Feb. 29 when Clevy Muchette Nelson Royster, 30, was found not guilty of murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Clevy Muchette Nelson-Royster, a former Army captain was acquitted of murder Feb. 29, 2023.

Nelson Royster, who was an Army Captain stationed at Ft. Bliss, was accused of orchestrating from the passenger seat of her vehicle the crash that ultimately killed Ft. Bliss Capt. Malcolm Perry, 27, on Oct. 11, 2020.

Brock Benjamin, one of Nelson Royster's attorneys, spoke to ABC-7 the day after the acquittal.

"(Prosecutors) proceeded on a theory that she intended to kill him ... they didn't have any evidence of that. They tried to use what's called extraneous offenses; 'there were several fights that night.' They tried to use those, and (assistant district attorney) Michelle Hill's closing, which was, 'there's nothing like a woman scorned.'"

Case background

Benjamin said Perry and Nelson Royster had been dating off-and-on for 5 years, and had been out at various clubs that night, including Jaguars strip club in east El Paso.

U.S. Army Capt. Malcolm Perry was killed in a crash in Oct. 2020.

Benjamin acknowledged that tempers flared between the couple during the night of the crash.

El Paso police arrested Nelson Royster several days after Perry's death, saying she owned the vehicle that caused the crash and was the passenger at the time.

It took nearly three and a half years to come to a conclusion, with Nelson Royster spending 14 months behind bars at one point.

Defendant "overwhelmed," prosecutor "disappointed"

Benjamin relayed how she reacted to the verdict.

"She was extremely, I think 'overwhelmed,' is almost the way to describe it," Benjamin said, adding, "You hear those two words, and even as a defense attorney, I mean, you feel a lot of relief. But clients, as a group, just seem to almost melt when they hear those words.

"There's nothing else that we do in the world that I can think of where you're either going to go to prison right now ... or, 'have a nice day, you get to go home," Benjamin concluded.

He said his client insisted she was innocent.

"You've got to respect a client who has enough faith in their innocence to go with the idea that no, I'm not going to ask for anything else- didn't ask for a lesser (sentence in a plea deal). And so the jury was tasked with trying to fit a version of events into something that didn't work."

District Attorney Bill Hicks told ABC-7 he was disappointed with the outcome.

"We believed in the facts of the case, we believed Miss Nelson was guilty of the offenses we charged her with. ... Unfortunately the jury didn't see it our way. That's the way it goes. We don't second-guess juries. Juries have their opinion."

What's next for Nelson; co-defendant's trial upcoming

Benjamin, who wanted to acknowledge the work he and El Paso attorney Louis Lopez did together for Nelson's defense, said their client was discharged from the Army and is now working on relocating from El Paso closer to home on the East Coast, and is looking at logistics jobs.

Police also arrested Richard Sennessie in connection to the deadly crash. Police investigators said Sennessie, who was 23 at the time of the crash, was driving Nelson's car. He is accused of purposely crashing into Perry's vehicle and intentionally killing Perry.

Richard Mustapha Sennessie
Richard Mustapha Sennessie, charged with murder.

Court records show Sennessie's murder trial is slated for April.

Benjamin explained to ABC-7 how Sennessie and Nelson Royster knew each other, saying they had mutual friends but had only met at a club the night of the crash.

Article Topic Follows: Xtra

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Stephanie Valle

Stephanie Valle co-anchors ABC-7 at 5, 6 and 10 weeknights.


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content