Woman charged in boy's murder appears in court

January 3, 2011 3:53:15 PM PST
Prosecutors outlined their case against a woman accused of doing the unthinkable to an innocent child, whose body was found burned and dumped in a northeast Houston ditch. As the family of Jonathan Foster, 12, prepares for his funeral, the woman accused of killing him faced a judge for the first time Monday since being charged with capital murder. And we're learning new information about the case against her.

"Yes ma'am" were the only two words spoken by accused child killer Mona Nelson after a judge asked her whether she understood her rights. It's the 44-year-old's first court appearance since she was charged in the disappearance and murder of Foster, who vanished from his home on Christmas Eve.

"I'm sure everybody is curious as to why this happened," said prosecutor Connie Spence. "Why this defendant is involved with a 12-year-old little boy and I can't answer that right now."

Nelson is accused of kidnapping and killing Foster, then burning his body beyond recognition. Twine matching the ties used to bind the young boy's wrists was found in Nelson's home. Prosecutors say additional evidence that's being analyzed at the crime lab could further the state's case against her.

"We want to do as thorough of an investigation as we can and make sure we know exactly what we have before we present it to a grand jury," said Spence.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, the capital murder suspect insisted she was paid $20 to dump a plastic container and randomly chose a ditch in northeast Houston. She claimed to have no knowledge of what was inside.

Police say there was no container. They say surveillance video shows a person in a silver pickup truck matching the description of Nelson's vehicle dumping the body.

The case will likely be presented to a grand jury sometime in the next two months. Meantime, Nelson is being held without bond at the Harris County jail. Her court appointed attorney planned to visit her Monday night.