Opening arguments begin in trial of woman accused of killing 12-year-old boy


by staff

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 14 at 7:07 PM

HOUSTON—Opening arguments were underway Wednesday in the trial of a woman accused of kidnapping and killing a 12-year-old Houston boy on Christmas Eve in 2010.

Mona Yvette Nelson was charged with capital murder in the death of Jonathan Foster. Nelson has chosen to be tried by a judge, not a jury. Her attorney said he advised her against it.

Police said the 44-year-old maintenance worker kidnapped and killed Jonathan, then burned his body. Nelson admitted to discarding the boy’s body, but said she did not kill him.

Wednesday was an emotional day in court as Jonathan’s mother took the stand.

Angela Davis fought back tears as she talked about the last time she heard her son’s voice, on Christmas Eve 2010.

Davis was on the stand for nearly two hours.

But the one main question that everyone has been asking was not answered: Why did this happen?

Nearly three years later, in the trial’s opening statements attorneys said there is still no motive for the killing.

“The big question that everybody has in this case is the ‘Why?’”—The motive behind this case and there’s not going to be a motive. You’re not going to hear any evidence of that.  I’m going to tell you the ‘what’ that evidence will prove,” said Assistant District Attorney Connie Spence.

Nelson, a 44-year-old grandmother, was a friend of the woman who leased the apartment where  Jonathon and his mother were staying.

“Mona Nelson had absolutely zero motive to kill Jonathan Foster. They searched and searched and searched for a motive and there’s no reason why she would have killed that boy,” said Nelson’s Attorney Allen Tanner.

Nelson’s attorney asked several questions about the mother’s estranged husband and their rocky relationship, suggesting he would have had a motive.

“He wanted to get her back and he told people at work that Jonathon is the root of all his problems,” he said.

It is not clear who all will be testifying in the trial, or if Nelson will take the stand.

While this is a capital murder case the death penalty is not being considered.  The trial is expected to last a couple of weeks.