Ellie Nesler: 1952 — 2008
“Who?” I don’t know how much fame or publicity Ellie Nesler got outside of California. If you ever saw A Time To Kill — she did in real life what Samuel L. Jackson did in that movie.
In April 1993, Ellie Nesler shot and killed Daniel Driver in a California courtroom. Driver was on trial for molesting Ellie Nesler’s 7-year-old son, and three other boys, at a Christian camp.
During the trial it was revealed that several years earlier, Daniel Driver had pleaded guilty to numerous charges of child molestation. But he was given probation after the judge was bombarded with letters from members of Driver’s church, all vouching for his “character.”
Ellie Nesler made certain that Daniel Driver would never strike again.
Ellie Nesler wasn’t a saint. She had a prior criminal record, she was high on meth when she shot Daniel Driver, and after she served time for manslaughter for killing Driver, she was jailed again on meth charges (technically, possession of 10,000 pseudoephedrine tablets). But she did what practically anybody, regardless of political views or personality type, would do in that situation — or at least would fantasize about doing.
Rightly or wrongly, the vigilante is a powerful archetype. Dirty Harry, Charles Bronson in Death Wish, Sally Field in An Eye For An Eye, Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs — Ellie Nesler was the real-life version of these movie heroes.
She died of cancer last Friday.
cross-posted at Bring It On!