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Felony Charges Dropped Against Man Who Was Burned on Hot Pavement During Arrest in Citrus Heights

James Nelson, 28, was disfigured on scorching asphalt in the parking lot of a Citrus Heights KFC.

"All these scars that he's never gonna be able to get rid of," said Nelson's mother, Tarsha.

Citrus Heights police pinned Nelson down when they say he resisted arrest back in June. Nelson was shirtless on that 101 degree afternoon. Experts say the asphalt could have exceeded 167 degrees, and at 162 degrees skin is instantly destroyed.

Forty percent of Nelson's body -- his face, torso, legs and rear end were covered in second and third degree burns.

"We thank the district attorney for coming to the conclusion of dropping these charges," said Nelson's stepfather, Barry.

Monday, Nelson's mother and stepfather learned that after a three-month hospital stay felony charges against him would soon be dropped.

Citrus Heights police released video immediately after the arrest, alleging that when Nelson swiped at a KFC employee he was trying to steal his wallet. He was charged with robbery, resisting arrest and being under the influence of a controlled substance.

But for now, Nelson is behind bars at the Sacramento County Jail, still facing a parole violation.

"They didn't really explain why they were dropping the charges," Nelson's mom said.

The Sacramento County District Attorney released this statement to FOX40:

"Given the unique facts and circumstances of this case and the prerogative which District Attorneys have to exercise discretion in charging decisions, we have determined that the range of penalties available for a parole violation are sufficient to assess accountability for Mr. Nelson`s conduct.

The parole violation alleges that he committed a battery on an individual in the KFC restaurant, that he attempted to steal the same individual`s wallet and that he resisted arrest in violation of his condition of parole that he obey all laws.

He faces a maximum of 180 days in county jail on this petition."

"My fear is that if he stays incarcerated, even for a few weeks, he's gonna lock up and have no mobility," Nelson's mom said.

For his family, it feels like he's taken one step forward and two steps back.

"I don't want him to be disabled on top of this," she said.

A GoFundMe campaign has been established to help Nelson's medical expenses. He says his physical therapy and burn treatments are not covered by insurance.