The same year Nelson was robbed at knifepoint in Philadelphia, and in response purchased a handgun. In 1987 he was arrested for felony possession of a weapon and dum-dum bullets. He served sixty days, received probation and had to have psychological evaluation. It was now illegal for him to possess a firearm.
He contemplated suicide. He resumed taking estrogens, and had breast augmentation. Leslie completed the sex change in 1992, despite a sex therapist declaring that psychological problems remained, although she was at risk of suicide if denied the change. The transgender program at Pennsylvania Hospital rejected her because she had a depressive disorder, and they felt that she did not feel like a woman in a man's body.
On returning to her warehouse job, Leslie was severely harassed and quit. She tried to be an exotic dancer, but was clumsy, and also failed to pass as female. She became a hooker in Camden, New Jersey.
On April 20, 1995, Nelson shot and killed two police officers, John McLaughlin and John Norcross, and wounded a third, Richard Norcross, John's brother, in a shootout at her parent’s home at Haddon Heights, New Jersey. She had refused to produce her gun, an AK-47 assault rifle on the policemen’s first visit after a neighbor had suggested that she had fondled her niece, and when they returned with a warrant she opened fire.
|Leslie Nelson, with public defender Joe Krakora,|
The New Jersey Supreme Court twice ruled that executing ‘such a mentally ill and psychologically disturbed person’ would be cruel and unusual punishment., and with the agreement of the prosecution, she was sentenced to three life sentences, with a 65-year bar on parole. This permitted her to be transferred to the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, in Clinton, New Jersey.
She was Inmate of the Month at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in August 2005 for tutoring other inmates.
*Not Leslie Nielsen, the Hollywood comedy actor.
- John Nordheimer. "Shooting Suspect Surrenders After 2 Officers Are Killed". The New York Times, April 22, 1995. www.nytimes.com/1995/04/22/nyregion/shooting-suspect-surrenders-after-2-officers-are-killed.html.
- John Way Jennings. "Accused Killer Of Lawmen Faces Death Penalty Leslie Nelson Was Indicted Yesterday. The Standoff In Haddon Heights Left Two Officers Dead, One Hurt.". Philadelphia Inquirer, June 22, 1995. http://articles.philly.com/1995-06-22/news/25691554_1_murder-of-police-officers-leslie-nelson-gas-mask.
- Aamer Madhani. "No Change Of Venue In Murder Case Leslie Nelson Pleaded Guilty To Killing Two Officers. Jury Selection Is Set For Jan. In A New Sentencing Trial.". Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec 13, 2000. http://articles.philly.com/2000-12-13/news/25580462_1.
- J. Zazzali. “State vs Leslie Ann Nelson”. New Jersey Court Cases. www.romingerlegal.com/new_jersey/supreme/a-29-01.opn.html.
- "A Question of Death". South Jersey.com, May 2005. www.southjersey.com/articles/?articleID=12827.
The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women quite sensibly employed only female guards. The following is from the Wikipedia page:
A class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of male correctional officers alleging that the policy of only employing female officers was discriminatory. In 1991, the state entered into a consent agreement allowing male correctional officers to work at Edna Mahan.
The addition of male officers resulted in problems leading to additional legal action. Officers were disciplined, fired, or criminally prosecuted for offenses including exchanging sexual favors for gifts or money.