Felony Charges Dropped Against Man Burned During Arrest In Citrus Heights

SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) – The man who suffered severe burns following an arrest in Citrus Heights will no longer face charges.

It’s a major relief for his parents. But they say the scars James Nelson now has is enough of a punishment that will last him a lifetime.

“Very traumatic, very very traumatic,” said Tarsha Benigno, Nelson’s mother.

ALSO READ: Man Severely Burned During Arrest By Citrus Heights Police

The pictures are graphic and almost hard to look at.

“I am just sad. It just breaks my heart, it would break any mother’s heart to see her child done like this,” she said as officers held her son as he fried on the hot pavement.

It stems from an incident back in June. Police said Nelson was acting erratically and resisting officers outside of a KFC and allegedly tried to steal a phone.

“This kid just has a mental disorder and he ran around the store and acted silly for five minutes and ran out and that’s what he gets from it?” she said.

Citrus Heights Police Chief said his officers were following protocol and that Nelson was dangerous and trying to flee.

“He appeared to be under the influence of some sort of controlled substance at the time,” an officer said.

Nelson had an accident earlier and police said this was his third 911 call — all in one day.

The District Attorney’s Office will drop the felony charges and pursue allegations that he violated parole, which carries a lighter sentence.

“They have to show some responsibility for what you did. You can’t just go around torturing people. You just ruined, changed that persons whole life,” his mother said.

The Benignos said their son will need several more surgeries and still will never make a full recovery.

“We don’t want this to happen to anybody really,” his stepdad Barry Benigno said.

Nelson remains in custody.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up for Nelson’s recovery. Click here to donate.

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