HOUSTON—A Harris County judge has found Mona Nelson guilty in the capital murder of 12-year-old Jonathan Foster.
Nelson will now serve life in prison without parole. She was accused in the kidnapping and murder of Jonathan on Christmas Eve in 2010.
Surveillance video showed Nelson dumping something out of her truck the night of the murder. She originally lied to detectives, then admitted in a third questioning that she did dump the body, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors admitted they would not be able to establish a motive for the murder, but they claimed Nelson murdered the boy in a drunken rage and then burned and dumped his body.
However, Nelson said she was asked by the boy’s stepfather to get rid of a container, but didn’t know a body was inside.
During the trial, Jonathan’s next-door neighbor and grandmother both talked about how they thought the stepdad might have been involved in the boy’s disappearance and murder. They said he had been abusive. The grandmother said she didn’t like him from the start and that she originally thought David Davis had taken Jonathan.
But the police investigation did not lead to Davis. Surveillance video shows him at a bar nearby at the time of the boy’s disappearance.
“I am extremely convinced, I am 100-percent convinced that there was no other person that was involved in this case....everything leads to Mona Nelson, absolutely,” Prosecutor Connie Spence said.
Prior to her arrest and trial, Nelson was a maintenance worker and welder in Houston.
District Judge Jeannine Barr returned with a decision in the case on Tuesday morning.
In court Nelson reacted calmly to Barr’s decision. When asked if she had anything to say Nelson said, “I’m innocent, and an innocent person is going to prison.”
Nelson’s attorney Allen Tanner said he has already begun the process of filing an appeal on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to convict.
“We believe someone else kidnapped this child and someone else killed this child. I do not believe Mona Nelson committed this offense,” he said.
City of Houston Victim’s Advocate Andy Kahan said the verdict is justice for Jonathan’s family.
“It doesn’t get any worse than this. She’s about as cold blooded diabolical killer as I’ve ever experienced being involved in the criminal justice system. And she’s where she belongs right now,” he said.
But they are still left with the question: Why did she kill the boy and burn and dump his body?“
"I hope that one day, maybe ten years down the line, she writes me a letter and says I wanna talk to you and I wanna tell you what happened,” Spence said.