‘Signs of a Psychopath’ airs on Investigation Discovery, and it looks at the gruesome crimes that have occurred all over the country in recent times. It dissects the personality traits of psychopathic criminals and sees exactly which characteristics are exhibited by the killer at the time of the crime. The series does so with the help of news footage and other relevant sources. The case of Christian C. Nielsen has been discussed in one such episode.
Who is Christian C. Nielsen?
Christian C. Nielsen was a cook at the Black Bear Bed and Breakfast in Newry, Maine, and also worked at the Sudbury Inn in Bethel. The owner of the latter facility, Nancy White, described him as a soft-spoken individual and a good employee. However, he was actually a psychopath that killed four people at the bed and breakfast, including the owner and her daughter.
In 2006, during the Labor Day weekend, Nielsen committed a quadruple murder. His victims were James Whitehurst, Julie Bullard, Selby Bullard, and Cindy Beatson. The first victim was James Whitehurst, a 50-year-old handyman who occasionally helped the owner, Julie Bullard, at the facility. He was shot and then his corpse was burnt. Nielsen had disposed of the body in the woods in Upton.
Two days later, the 65-year-old owner was shot. On the following day, her daughter Selby Bullard and her daughter’s friend, Cindy Beatson, were also murdered after showing up at the location unexpectedly. However, shooting them was not enough. Nielsen also dismembered the three women using a hacksaw, an ax, and a chainsaw, according to the prosecution. Moreover, he cut Selby’s and Cindy’s fingers off, presumably to take their rings. Three dead dogs were also discovered on site.
Julie and Selby Bullard had moved to Maine after losing the latter’s husband to a fatal car crash. Selby also had two children— a 12-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son. The family shifted and set up the bed and breakfast as a fresh start for themselves. In February of that year, Julie had decided to sell the facility. Meanwhile, Selby worked part-time at the Apple Tree Realty Inc. with her friend Cindy Beatson after obtaining her real estate license.
To say that these murders shook the community would be an understatement. After all, the area was not an unsafe one. The last event that had such an impact on the community was an arson fire that killed four people in Portland almost 14 years before Nielsen’s crimes. Robin Zinchuk, the Executive Director of the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, also said, “Everybody is just numb with shock. It’s something out of a horror movie.”
Nielsen’s crimes came to light when he called his father, Charles Nielsen, and his stepmother down to the property. Christian told his father that Julie had gone to California and left him in charge of the bed and breakfast. But when he reached there, Charles saw a bloody trail left behind from when the bodies had been dragged outside. The father immediately notified the police and even told them that he thought Christian had carried out the killings. A point that must be noted is that Nielsen even worked the Sunday dinner shift after already having killed at least one person.
Authorities arrested Christian Nielsen on four charges of murder, and he did not resist arrest. According to an affidavit, when Nielsen was questioned about the crimes, he admitted that he was guilty and even showed the cops where Whitehurst’s body was. When asked about a motive, Nielsen stated that there was none. He had simply been thinking of killing people for many years, and 2006 was the year he solidified his thoughts. Authorities thought he also wanted to operate the bed and breakfast himself. Up until the murders, the worst crime on his rap sheet was driving under influence. His license had also been revoked a year ago.
Where is Christian C. Nielsen Today?
Nielsen was declared competent enough to go through a trial for the murders, and Justice Robert Crowley stated that the now-convicted met the legal standards that had been set by the State’s Supreme Court. You see, his legal team declared that Nielsen was unfit for a trial on the grounds of his mental health. They also stated that he was emotionally detached and could not aid in his own defense. However, many professionals felt that Nielson could contribute to his defense if he chose to. The judge said this about the matter— “While it is certainly unfair to subject a defendant to trial when he lacks the capacity to take part in his own defense, it is not unfair to subject him to trial when he simply chooses not to take part.”
Two psychologists at the trial did conclude that Nielsen had mental health issues. He suffered from a schizoid personality disorder, and possibly other ailments like Asperger’s syndrome, which could prevent him from communicating properly. But they disagreed about his capabilities as far as the trial was concerned. Nielsen was not declared legally insane despite these issues.
However, Nielsen’s legal team still pursed the insanity defense route. His lawyer, Dennis Hoffman, said that the goal was to get his client admitted to a psychiatric facility where he could receive treatment for his illnesses. But the insanity plea was dropped a day before his trial started, and Nielsen pleaded guilty for the crimes. He received life in prison on October 18, 2007, and is serving his sentence at the Maine State Prison.
In 2007, it was also reported that while he was at the Cumberland County Jail awaiting his trial, Nielsen had lost 55 pounds. This put his health in danger, as his weight came down from 158 pounds to 103 pounds. Sheriff Mark Dion was given permission by the court to force-feed him. Moreover, Nielsen had also been placed on a suicide watch after he made cuts that resembled the letter X on his scalp. Sheriff Dion said that Nielsen could not be transported to the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta for further treatment until his condition had stabilized.
Read More: Who Were Christian C. Nielsen’s Victims?