As a parent, your natural instinct is to protect your child—no matter what it takes. When Ellie Nesler found out her 6-year-old son Willy was allegedly being molested, she turned to the police for help. Years later, she took matters into her own hands.
Willy alleges that Daniel Driver, a man with a criminal past, molested and raped him at a California church camp. For a year, Willy says he hid his secret because he was afraid for his life, as well as the lives of his mother and little sister, Rebecca. "He said he'd kill us all if I told anybody," Willy says. "Finally, I told my aunt. It hurt me too much, and if I didn't tell her, he was going to hurt me more."
Willy was not alone—four other boys came forward and said they were also sexually abused by Daniel.
For years, the boys waited to testify at trial, and during that time, Ellie says Daniel stalked her son. Then, at the courthouse, she says he looked Willy up and down and smirked, which caused Willy to vomit. "He had a real cocky attitude. He knew he was going to slip through the system," Ellie says. "I snapped."
What happened next made this one of the biggest news stories of the '90s. Inside the courtroom, Ellie grabbed her sister Jan's gun, which she carried for protection, and shot Daniel five times in the head, killing him.
Why Ellie killed her child's molester
In 1993, Ellie was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, and a judge sentenced her to 10 years in prison. Two years later, in March 1995, she spoke out on The Oprah Show from prison.