Batesville Murder Victim Remembered with Memorial in Remote Spot

C SURPLUS TOWNSHIP, MAINE - On a remote hilltop off a dirt road, a memorial stone marks the place where Arkansan James Whitehurst met his death at the hands of Christian Nielsen.

This is the spot where Nielsen fired the first bullet that set in motion a bloody days-long murder spree in which he fatally shot and dismembered four people over Labor Day weekend last year.

Whitehurst's 16-year-old son erected the commemorative, which has a marble marker, a birdhouse, an angel figurine and other personal items.  He says it's a way to say goodbye to his father.  It also serves as a reminder of the pain that Nielsen's actions brought to his victims' familes and friends.  Whitehurst was from Batesville, and stayed and worked as a handyman at a Maine bed & breakfast, where he met Nielsen.

Prosecutors say the killings started with the shooting of Whitehurst, whose body was found miles from the inn.

Two days later, Nielsen killed the inn's owner, Julie Bullard.  The following day, Labor Day, he killed Bullard's daughter, Selby, and her friend, Cindy Beatson, when they arrived at the inn unexpectedly.

Nielsen pleaded guilty to four counts of murder.  He is to be sentenced tomorrow.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)