'I can remember the sound of his voice': Daughter of Brown's victim now a correctional officer

Jessica Platte was 5 years old and in kindergarten when she lost her father, Marcus Nellsen, in the Brown's Chicken massacre.

At the time, her father was living and working in Palatine, and she was living with her mom, Beverly Hamilton, in downstate Palestine.

"I can remember the fact that my dad was a good cook, and my mom always says, because I love to cook and I cook really well, 'It always reminds me of your dad,'" she said. "I can remember him being a very strong and caring human in my brief memories of him. I can remember the sound of his voice. I would like there to be more (memories)."

Because she lived downstate, she avoided the intense media coverage of the killings. But she recalls attending three memorial services for her father, including one in Arlington Heights that concluded with a 21-gun salute for the Navy veteran.

She also remembers seeing his open casket and trying to wake up her father, telling him, "I love you." Her picture was placed in his casket.

Today, Platte lives in downstate Robinson with her husband, Christopher Platte, and works as a correctional officer.

"I have always been interested in corrections because I feel a debt to society, because two human beings for the rest of their natural life are housed in Illinois prisons, and it's part of bearing the weight," she said.

She has not come into contact with her father's killers since attending their trials. Both men are prevented from serving in a facility where she works.

She said her four children - Navaeh, Chloie, Camden and Kieran Edward - are aware of the crime, but not its most graphic and disturbing aspects.

They sometimes ask why it happened, most recently on Dec. 30, when the family lit a candle in honor of Marcus' birthday.

"There's not really a good explanation for that," she tells them.

"They made a very bad decision and this is what happened because of it."

She said Camden wants to be a detective because "he wants to solve mysteries," while Kieran Edward also wants to be a police officer.

"He has the brightest blue eyes, just like my dad's," Platte said.

Marcus Nellsen changing his daughter Jessica's diaper. Courtesy of Jessica Platte
A display with pictures of her father, Marcus Nellsen, in Jessica Platte's home. Courtesy of Jessica Platte
Jessica Platte, right, recently with her husband, Christopher, far left, and children, from left, Chloie, Camden, Kieran Edward and Navaeh. Courtesy of Jessica Platte
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