HOUSTON—The woman accused of murdering a 12-year-old boy and then trying to dispose of his body is now waiting for a Harris County judge to decide her fate.
Mona Nelson faces life in prison without parole if convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Jonathan Foster in December of 2010.
Prosecutors, while admitting from the start that they would not be able to establish a motive for the murder, said that Nelson, a maintenance worker and welder, murdered the boy in a drunken rage, then burned and dumped his body.
Surveillance video shows Nelson dumping something out of her truck the night of the murder. She later confessed that she was asked by the boy’s stepfather to get rid of a container, but said she didn’t know a body was inside. She originally lied to detectives, then admitted in a third questioning that she did dump the body.
“In the first three she said that she did not dump the body, in the last one she said that she did,” said Defense Attorney Allen Tanner in closing arguments. “Granted, and I’ll eat that she lied about that in her first three statements. But that does not mean that she killed the child, or kidnapped the child. That does not make her guilty of capital murder.”
“It’s just not there,” Tanner said of the forensic evidence. “This case has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. And to convict this woman and send her to prison for the rest of her life without parole on this evidence, I think, would be a huge mistake.”
“The evidence leads to one person only and that is Mona Nelson,” said prosecutor Connie Spence in her closing statement, who again showed the surveillance video that captured Nelson dumping the body. Prosecutors said evidence ruled out the stepfather of any involvement. Prosecutors also have a sweatshirt they found in Nelson’s garbage that was identified as belonging to Foster. Nelson’s DNA was found on the back and on the collar.
“That is the link. That is why we know this defendant took Jonathan Foster back to her house and killed him. And we’ll never know how she killed him because she burned his body to the point where we can’t tell,” Spence said.
Court is in recess until 10 a.m. Tuesday when District Judge Jeannine Barr is expected to return with a decision.