True Crime

Murders of the Blackbear Bed & Breakfast

Content Warning: Murder, graphic language {not swearing}, death of children, disturbing subjects may not be suitable for some viewers, viewer discretion is advised.

Christain Charles Nielsen was born May 2, 1975, in Rumford, Maine. When he was four years old, his parents divorced. Two years later, in the Rumford Court District, a judge ruled that Nielsen’s father would gain custody of he and his little sister, stating that Nielsen’s mother was too emotionally unstable to care for young children. Nielsen’s friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and others described him as normal during his youth. Between the years 2001 to 2004, he went to the University of Maine but did not earn a degree. Nielsen then worked as a line cook for Sudbury Inn in Bethel. A coworker there described Nielsen as a “reliable, soft-spoken, and quiet guy.” However, when he turned 27, Nielsen fantasized about “murdering people and desired to be a serial killer.” He had been staying at the Blackbear Bed & Breakfast for two months before he committed his crimes—previously he had his license revoked for driving under the influence. 

On September 1, 2006, Nielsen invited 50-year-old James Whitehurst to fish with him in Upton, the neighboring town. Whitehurst, originally from Arkansas, had been temporarily living at the Inn and working as a handyman there. After accepting the offer, the two went to a local Subway restaurant for lunch. After eating, they went to a wooded area of Upton that was around 15 miles away from the Inn, where Whitehurst was hit multiple times in the head by Nielsen, ultimately killing him. Nielsen then left Whitehurst’s body there to go to his job. The next day though, Nielsen returned to the crime scene to dig a grave. Instead he decided to burn Whitehurst’s body with gasoline.

The following morning, Nielsen murdered Julie Bullard, the Inn’s owner, because he was scared she would be suspicious of Whitehurst’s disappearance. Nielsen broke into her bedroom as she slept and shot her in the head, chest, and back thrice. After killing her, he dragged her body into the nearby woods, cut it in half with an axe and a hacksaw, and wrapped it with a tarp before leaving for work.

On September 4, 2006, Nielsen went to his father’s house to borrow a chainsaw. When he returned to the Inn, Julie Bullard’s daughter, 30-year-old Selby Bullard, and her friend, Cindy Beatson, showed up unexpectedly for Labor Day. Fearing that Bullard would wonder about her mother’s whereabouts, he shot both guests in the head. Afterward, he dragged both bodies outside and dismembered them with a chainsaw and a hacksaw. He also cut off their fingers and removed their rings, placing them in his duffel bag. 

Later that evening, Nielsen decided to call his father and claimed he was running the Inn while Julie Bullard was in California. Then that night, Nielsen’s father and stepmother arrived at the Inn; they found a body outside and called the police. However, before the police arrived, Nielsen’s stepmother called 911 again, stating that he confessed to her during calls that he was behind the murders. Nielsen was then arrested. He gave the police a two-hour confession detailing how he committed all the murders. He also told the cops the location of the first body, which had not yet been found.

Nielsen originally pleaded not guilty to the four counts of murder he was charged with; he was held in the Oxford County Jail until his trial. This changed when Nielsen attacked another inmate, causing him to be moved to the Cumberland County Jail. While in prison, he lost 55 pounds during a hunger strike before the sheriff obtained a court order to insert a feeding tube. Nielsen began eating again on his own before the tube could be inserted. Then in December 2006, Nielsen used a razor to carve the “x” onto his scalp, resulting in being placed on suicide watch.

After the Riverview Psychiatric Center did a psychiatric exam, Nielsen’s lawyer changed Nielsen’s plea from”not guilty” to “not criminally responsible” after he was found to have suffered from Schizoid personality disorder, Asperger’s, and other mental illnesses. Even with this new information, Nielsen was deemed well enough to stand trial because he was not suffering from a psychotic episode when he committed the murders, which meant he could make decisions willingly. Nielsen, not wanting to stand trial, changed his plea to guilty. On October 18, 2007, Christian Charles Nielsen was sentenced to four life terms in prison. He now resides at Maine State Prison with a sentence of life in prison.

Categories: True Crime

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