|Full name||Tom Nelson|
|Cause of death||Laser blast to the chest|
|Residence||Pacific Bay, U.S.|
|Affiliation(s)||Pacific Bay Aeronautics and Space Administration|
|Appears in||Criminal Case|
|First appeared||Case #43: Dead Space (s2)|
Tom was an astronaut working for PASA. He was scheduled to fly the Examiner-1 on an expedition to Mars. At the time of his death, he was wearing his astronaut suit.
Tom was found up against a car with a large hole in his chest. Roxie had no idea what the murder weapon could possibly be, as whatever made the hole completely cauterized the wound. The only thing she was sure of is that Tom's killer is right-handed, because the body was moved to the car post-mortem and he was leaning to the right, meaning the killer is stronger on their right side.
Amy and the player eventually examined a secret war room with the help of Colonel Spangler. After searching the room, they found a bunch of pieces, and reconstructing them revealed they make up some sort of gun. Hannah confirmed it was a laser gun, specifically the murder weapon used to kill Tom. She had Roxie run comparisons with the victim's wound, and they matched. She also said that one could never fire it without an advanced knowledge in astrophysics, which meant the killer knows astrophysics.
Killer and motives
The killer turned out to be PhD student Brad Raybury.
Brad thought the team had no proof that he killed Nelson but Amy told the candidate to drop the attitude by presenting the evidence incriminating him, proving that the player is a fast learner when it comes to science. Brad bowed down by admitting that he shot Nelson, but never knew that the murder weapon was fully functional. All Brad wanted to do was to play a prank on Nelson by pointing the laser gun at him, but in spite of Brad assuming that the laser gun was a toy, it killed Tom, and Brad was aghast to know about the hole the laser gun caused. Amy made it clear that a homicide is a homicide, so she stepped aside to allow the player to ship Brad before the Honorable Dante.
At the trial, Brad stated that he did not like Tom keeping all research files out of Brad's reach. Brad also had to state that the murder was an accident: if Tom had told Brad not to play with the gun, he would have went to Mars via space shuttle Examiner-1. Given that the murder was an accident, Judge Dante gave Brad an eight-year jail sentence with unannounced parole eligibility contingent on inmate behavior.