Man charged in Fulton County murder testifies in his own defense

June 18, 2019 07:05 PM

The man accused of killing 21-year-old Michaela MacVilla may soon learn his fate. Closing arguments are set to begin in the trial of Daniel Nellis in Fulton County Court on Wednesday.

The jury heard from Nellis himself on Monday and Tuesday. He told the jury that knew MacVilla from going into Stewart's in St. Johnsville where she worked.


He said he saw her crying on the side of the road around the time of her sister's death in the summer of 2018. Nellis says he comforted MacVilla, and talked with her about his own nephew's recent death. He says after that meeting, he returned to Stewart's and gave MacVilla his number and the two began talking and eventually began hanging out.

Nellis says they hung out a few times before he drove to pick MacVilla up at her house after her shift ended around midnight on Sept. 26. He was there to take her back to his home Oppenheim. He says that night, they had consensual sex and she stayed over.

Nellis says later that day around noon, he was driving MacVilla home, when they pulled over to "fool around."

Nellis claims someone pulled up and saw them, which upset MacVilla, so she got out of the car and began walking. Nellis says he drove to the end of the road and waited for her, but he never saw her again.

The prosecution presented a different version of events, saying Nellis took MacVilla to Kringsbrush Road, sexually assaulted her and shot her in the back of the head. The prosecution called the man who allegedly witnessed Nellis and MacVilla on the side of the road. He told the jury he didn't own the type of car Nellis described and he doesn't know the road where the alleged sighting took place.

Hear from members of both families by watching the video of Emily Burkhard's story.


WNYT staff

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