Death of stuntman: 3 charged with murder

A stuntman who worked in a Singapore theme park died after being assaulted by a group of 17 people, court documents reveal.

American John Denley Nelson, 30, reportedly fell and hit his head on the ground after trying to stop a brawl in Circular Road on Christmas Eve. He died in hospital on New Year's Day and was cremated here two days later.

According to court documents, 15 of his 17 alleged attackers have been identified. Seven other victims were also hurt by the known assailants - 13 men aged 20 to 45 and two women aged 22.

Yesterday, three Singaporean men were charged with the man's murder, and another with rioting.

Muhammad Khalis Ramlee, Muhammad Haziq Hashim and Muhammad Izzuandy Yusof, all 23, are accused of intentionally causing Mr Nelson's death. They face the mandatory death penalty if convicted. Another Singaporean, Syed Muhammad Salleh Syed Sallahudin, also 23, faces a charge of rioting by being part of an unlawful assembly that comprised the 17 people. He faces up to seven years' jail and caning if convicted.

District Judge Christopher Goh granted the police prosecutor's application to remand the four suspects for a week at the Central Police Division, with permission to take them out for investigations.

The four, who did not have a lawyer, will have their cases mentioned again on Thursday.

Mr Nelson, who was from Michigan, came to Singapore in 2009 to work at Universal Studios on Sentosa. He would bring the thrills of blockbuster film Waterworld to spectators with bold jumps and turns on his jet skis and water skis.

In other stunts, the former professional water skier would leap into the water from three storeys high. He also played ice hockey.

According to an online fund- raising campaign set up by a friend, he suffered traumatic head injuries and was put in an induced coma at Singapore General Hospital. He died on Jan 1 without regaining consciousness. The website said: "Nelson and his friend were ending the night in a bar when a fight broke... John was not involved, just a bystander.

"When he saw a female friend from Universal Studios get punched in the face, he and his friend moved in to protect her."

Other than the four charged yesterday, nine others have already been charged with rioting.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2016, with the headline 'Death of stuntman: 3 charged with murder'. Print Edition | Subscribe