Concord murder suspect beaten, strangled to death

A suspect in an attempted home-invasion robbery in Concord on Dec. 23 was apparently hit on the head and strangled by two brothers as they tried to save their sister and defend themselves, officials reported.

Sean Nelson, a 22-year-old Concord resident, died from blunt force head injuries and asphyxia due to strangulation, according to the Contra Costa County coroner's office.

Nelson reportedly entered a home in the 1400 block of Del Rio Circle, stole several items and then fatally shot 17-year-old Ana Christina Gonzalez in her living room, Concord police reported.

Two more suspects, Sean Nelson's brother Derrick Nelson, 18, and Helen Mekonnen, a 20-year-old Union City resident, were also allegedly involved in the robbery. They were each charged last week with murder, two counts of robbery and one count of burglary, Concord police Lt. Andrew Gartner said.

They are both scheduled to enter pleas Jan. 10 at 9 a.m. in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez, according to the district attorney's office.

Police received reports of the shooting shortly after 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 23 and arrived to find the two bodies inside the home.

During their investigation, police found that Sean Nelson, who lived just a couple houses away from the home he was robbing, had entered the home with two guns and demanded a video game console and other items, Gartner said.

Members of Sean Nelson's family knew members of the Gonzalez family, but it is unclear if Sean Nelson knew Ana Gonzalez directly. Police do, however, believe that the robbery was motivated by an ongoing dispute over property, Gartner said.

During the robbery, Sean Nelson reportedly ordered Ana Gonzalez and her brother, Jose “Javier” Gonzalez, to move property from inside the home to a black Honda parked outside, Gartner said. Both Mekonnen and Derrick Nelson were allegedly waiting inside the car.

After two trips to the car, Sean Nelson reportedly ordered Ana and Javier Gonzalez inside the home and fatally shot Ana Gonzalez, according to Gartner.

A subsequent fight ensued between Sean Nelson, Javier Gonzalez, and Javier Gonzalez's juvenile brother, Gartner said. The two brothers killed Sean Nelson during the fight.

Gartner said that Sean Nelson's death is still under investigation, although it appears that the killing was justified self-defense.

Ana Gonzalez's 1-year-old child was upstairs at the time of the shooting, police reported. The baby is now being cared for by its grandfather with help from Contra Costa Children and Family Services.

Three other people who were living in the house received help from the American Red Cross.

Derrick Nelson is in custody at the Martinez Detention Facility and Mekonnen is being held at the West County Detention Facility. Bail has been set at $1.25 million for each, according to jail officials.

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