Phoenix police identify burglary, hit-and-run suspect accused of murder

PHOENIX -- Phoenix police say he was behind a wild and deadly crime spree and now that suspect is behind bars. Officials say 39-year-old Shawn Nelson hit and killed a woman while he was driving away from a cellphone store he burglarized.

A convicted felon, Nelson faces more than a dozen charges, including first-degree murder. He's accused of killing an innocent bystander, 45-year-old Dawn Bestenlehner, who happened to be in the area near 31st Avenue and Thomas.

Police say Nelson stole a U-Haul truck and later crashed it into Hookup Cellular at around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday. When officers arrived at the scene, they say Nelson hit a patrol car, tow truck, then collided with Bestenlehner, who was on the sidewalk.

Bestenlehner later died from her injuries at an area hospital.

Authorities say Nelson fled on foot from that scene before police arrested him.

Nelson recently served six years in prison for burglary, vehicle theft and drug charges. He was released in 2017.

If convicted of the new charges, Nelson could likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. He is currently behind held in jail on a $1 million cash bond.

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