Judge deliberating verdict in capital murder case

Mona Nelson on trial for capital murder
August 26, 2013 4:14:55 PM PDT
Testimony in the murder trial of Mona Nelson is over. Now we wait for a verdict -- not from a jury but from a judge -- and if that judge decides Nelson is guilty of killing 12-year-old Jonathan Foster, her punishment sentencing will be swift.

There are very few options when it comes to punishment in this case. This is a non-death penalty capital murder case, so if the judge finds her guilty, Nelson will spend the rest of her natural life behind bars without a chance for parole.

After two weeks of testimony in her capital murder trial, Nelson's attorney began closing arguments with a simple assertion ? the that prosecution has not proven their case.

"The case got weaker and weaker and weather, and there are more and more unanswered questions now than there were at the beginning," said defense attorney Allen Tanner.

Tanner says Nelson didn't kill Jonathan, nor did she torch his body. But prosecutor Connie Spence was unrelenting, saying Nelson was the one who kidnapped and killed the little boy on Christmas Eve three years ago.

"This defendant took Jonathan Foster back to her house and killed him," Spence said. "We'll never know how she killed him because she burned his body to the point where you can't tell."

Prosecutors played a grainy surveillance video that showed someone dressed as Nelson did that night, dumping something on the side of the road.

Spence said, "You see this person in a white shirt and a white hat leaning over exactly where that body was found."

Nelson has admitted to helping dump the trash can where the boy's remains were found, but says she never knew what was inside.

During closing arguments, the defense pointed out that there could be other suspects with motive and opportunity, and there's plenty of reasonable doubt in the case against Nelson.

Tanner said, "The evidence is clear that there could be people who committed this crime and we have no idea at this time who they are."

It's up to the judge to render a verdict in the case. The court goes back into session Tuesday at 10am, but it's not yet known if the judge will deliver the verdict at that time.

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