Detective recalls what was found in murder suspect's trash can


HPD Detective Mike Miller took the stand for much of the day Monday. He testified about physical evidence he collected that prosecutors say ties Mona Nelson to the murder of 12-year-old Jonathan Foster.

Foster's body was found in a ditch, burned beyond recognition, and Miller described seeing a lot of leaves around the body. When he went to Nelson's property, he said the same kind of leaves were everywhere, along with a strong odor of burning.

He described what happened when he opened one of Nelson's garbage cans.

"A phenomenal odor of burned material," Detective Miller testified. "To me, it was something more than burn. It was more of a burn with something else."

Miller said he found burned carpeting in Nelson's trash can that prosecutors say matches the carpet in which Foster's body was wrapped. Miller also testified that he found a rod that had been burned, and a carry out carton of chicken. Photographs of the scene where the body was found also showed chicken bones there.

But it was a child's size large Looney Tunes sweatshirt pulled from Nelson's trash can that Detective Miller later took to Foster's mother:

He testified, "I immediately displayed the sweatshirt and asked if she'd seen it before. She said that she had. She told us that was her son Jonathan's sweatshirt."

Throughout this case, defense attorneys have continued to suggest that someone other than Mona Nelson could have committed this crime. Again on Monday they suggested that it could have been Foster's stepfather, David Davis, who was ruled out as a suspect. Davis already testified in the case.

FBI agents are expected to testify about the evidence that was collected at the scene and sent to the FBI crime lab in Quantico.

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