Weather Forecast

Cody Lee Walker-Nelson

Duluth teen arraigned on three additional fire charges

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
region Park Rapids,Minnesota 56470
Park Rapids Enterprise
Duluth teen arraigned on three additional fire charges
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

A man Duluth police are calling a serial arsonist was arraigned Wednesday on three new fire-related charges.

Cody Lee Walker-Nelson, 18, is charged with third-degree arson, fifth-degree arson and with falsely making an emergency call to police, all arising from recent incidents in the East Hillside neighborhood.


Walker-Nelson was released from jail in June after serving four months for a January garage fire in East Hillside. He was suspected of a string of fires going back to October and was on probation at the time of the most recent alleged arsons.

The current criminal complaint states that Walker-Nelson is a convicted arsonist "who has little to no regard for public safety.''

According to the complaint, Duluth firefighters and police were dispatched about 3 a.m. Aug. 10 to a fire in a garbage container in the alley behind 1023 E. Second St. About 40 minutes later, another fire was reported in the bed of a Ford Ranger pickup truck where camping gear, clothing and paper were burning in the parking lot of 932 E. Third St.

The vehicle owner put out the fire with a chemical extinguisher. He and his girlfriend then saw a man wearing a white T-shirt, shorts and white socks standing near the truck, holding a white bottle and acting suspicious. The suspect ducked, and when he stood up, he no longer had the bottle. He fled the scene. The truck owner later picked Walker-Nelson from a photo lineup as the person he had seen.

Officer Kelly Greenwalt and K-9 dog Reggo tracked the suspect from the scene. The officer said the fact that the suspect wasn't wearing shoes made it easier to track him to an apartment. Walker-Nelson was found and was sweaty and extremely nervous, police said. He said that he didn't start any fires.

About a week later, 1:30 a.m. Aug. 16, police dispatch received a call from someone who said there was a fire in the alley behind 1610 E. Fifth St. and hung up. Firefighters and police responded, but there was no fire. Police arson investigator Todd Kuusisto listened to a recording of the call and recognized Walker-Nelson's voice after having numerous contacts with him. Kuusisto connected the phone number with Walker-Nelson's grandmother, who identified her grandson as the person making the false alarm.

Walker-Nelson was arrested without incident Saturday by Owatonna, Minn., police on a warrant filed in St. Louis County District Court. He is being held in the St. Louis County Jail. Judge Shaun Floerke set bail at $100,000.