Evidence thrown out in capital murder trial of woman accused of killing boy

Mona Nelson, accused killer

August 16, 2013 5:08:40 PM PDT
A judge tossed out evidence against a woman accused of kidnapping and killing a little boy. That move comes as the defense continues to cast suspicion on the child's stepfather. The jury also heard from the man who placed Mona Nelson at the scene of the boy's abduction, but that may not matter.

In court Friday were presented pieces of what is considered evidence against Nelson -- an acetylene tank taken from her house, a picture of burned carpet that was taken as well, and the clothes she was wearing on Christmas Eve. For two days, Nelson's attorney has tried to cast suspicion on the stepfather of 12-year-old Jonathan Foster, David Davis.

The defense attorney asked, "Did you tell police you and Jonathan's mother were getting back together?"

Davis answered, "I believe so, yes."

The defense attorney asked, "But that wasn't true, was it?"

"I believed we were," Davis responded. "She invited me over to Christmas dinner."

Jonathan's burned body was found wrapped in carpet and left in a ditch. Davis, like Nelson, is a welder.

The defense attorney asked, "What kind of equipment do you work with on your job?"

"A cutting torch and electric welding machine," Davis replied.

The defense asked Davis, "Do you also use an acetylene torch?"

"Yes, sir," he answered.

The defense asked, "Ever have one of those in your truck?"

"No, sir," Davis said.

Davis also has an alibi caught on camera on the day of his stepson's disappearance -- security pictures that showed him in a bar.

Also testifying was a neighbor who identified Nelson as the person in a gray truck seen at the apartment where the boy lived. He picked her out of a police lineup but thought she was a man.

The defense asked, "Did the other five women in the lineup have more hair than Mona Nelson?"

Homicide detective Mike Miller testified, "Yes, it's certainly not the best lineup I ever conducted."

The defense wanted to know, "Would it have been better to have five men instead?'

"It's possible," Miller conceded.

"Why didn't you do that?" the defense asked.

Miller responded, "I can't imagine my position in this courtroom today if we'd have put five men in that lineup."

The judge agreed, suppressing the lineup as the evidence she'll consider. While that might have mattered to a jury, this is different.

"It actually might be less important to a judge who understands that eyewitness testimony isn't always as simple as it appears to be," explained KTRK legal expert Sarah Frazier.

Testimony continues next week. Evidence that allegedly shows the body being dumped from a truck is expected to be shown next week as well.

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