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Parolee arrested on suspicion of making threats against Diane Watson

January 28, 2011 |  8:32 pm

A 41-year-old South Los Angeles parolee was arrested early Friday in connection with a series of recent phone calls threatening to kill retired U.S. Rep. Diane Watson, authorities said.

Sheron Nelson was arrested in South L.A. at the office of his parole agent, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Sheriff’s Lt. Kent Wegener said authorities had recovered the telephone used to make the calls to Watson. The telephone belonged to the suspect, Wegener said. The suspect “implicated himself” during questioning, Wegener said in the Sheriff Department's statement.

A search of the suspect’s home revealed no weapons but did turn up “numerous stolen electronic items,” the sheriff’s office said.

Nelson was booked on suspicion of making felony terrorist threats against Watson, as well as on suspicion of felony identity theft, the Sheriff’s Department said. He is not eligible for bail since he is on parole on an unrelated terrorist threats conviction, the department said.

Investigators are seeking a motive for the threatening phone calls. Watson and her assistant answered the phone, and each was threatened with death, said Capt. Mike Parker, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Watson, 77, who announced her retirement last year after almost a decade in Congress, is aware of the arrest, Parker said.

Watson, a pioneering African American lawmaker in California, is also a former member of the Los Angeles school board and the California Senate.

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-- Patrick McDonnell

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