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Woman claims Billings man murdered as part of satanic "initiation"

Posted at 10:24 AM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-08 13:32:32-05

BILLINGS - A woman told an officer she killed a man inside his South Side Billings home as part of an "initiation that the detective would not understand."

Court documents state the woman, Nina Mel Cochran, also said "she had been born to become Lucifer and rule over the earth."

Cochran, 32, has been charged with deliberate homicide for the death of a 64-year-old man. The man's body was discovered by police in a residence on Hillview Lane after Cochran was arrested in Park County and allegedly confessed to murdering a man in Billings.

Cochran has yet to be arraigned in Yellowstone County on the murder charge.

The Yellowstone County Coroner's Office identified the victim Thursday as Douglas Merrill Nielsen. He died of multiple stab wounds, the coroner said.

According to charging documents, Cochran was initially arrested in Park County on Dec. 1 by a Montana Highway Patrol trooper who responded to a report of a reckless driver on Interstate 90. The trooper said he attempted to stop a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer, but the driver fled until the vehicle was stopped by tire spikes near Big Timber. Cochran was arrested on several charges, including felony criminal endangerment, court records state.

The vehicle Cochran was driving belonged to Nielsen, and attempts to contact him were unsuccessful, court records state. An agent of the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation visited the Billings residence to attempt to make contact with Nielsen, but no one answered and the door was locked. A neighbor told the agent he typically saw Nielsen daily but had not seen him for several days.

Cochran was then interviewed by an officer in the Park County Detention Center on dec. 6. Court records state she waived her rights and agreed to speak with the officer. It was during that interview Cochran allegedly said Nielsen was "in his house dead" and that she had killed him as part of a satanic initiation. She also allegedly gave the officer Nielsen's address and said she left the house after the ritual to go do "some driving," court records state.

Following the interview, the officer contacted the Billings Police Department and requested a welfare check at Nielsen's residence. Billings police reported officers went to the residence and found Nielsen's body in the living room on a couch.

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