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Accused killer declines jury trial for capital murder case

Friday, August 09, 2013
Mona Nelson is accused of killing Jonathon Foster

Two and a half years ago, a 12-year-old Houston boy was kidnapped and killed. On Monday, his accused killer will go on trial for capital murder.

Mona Nelson will not be tried by a jury, but by a judge. That was her choice, but in a capital murder trial it's almost never done.

Jonathon Foster was sweet and sensitive, according to those who knew him. At 12 years old, his life wasn't easy. He lived in the country with his grandparents. His mother, who had remarried, asked he be returned to her and he went to live with the couple in a north Houston duplex. On Christmas Eve afternoon in 2010, he went missing.

A search of the area went on for the next four days, until the boy's burned body was found wrapped in a carpet and left in a ditch in north Houston. Soon after that, attention turned to Mona Nelson -- a friend of the family's next door neighbor. A welder, a former boxer and a grandmother -- a witness claimed to have seen the boy's body being dumped from a truck with a description similar to the one Nelson drove.

Prosecutor Connie Spence said, "It's puzzling as to why it happened, why this offense took place."

Spence will be prosecuting the case, not before a jury, but before a judge -- almost unheard of in a capital murder case.

"The state only has to prove the case to one person rather than having to convince 12 persons," Spence explained.

The decision, says Nelson's attorney, was hers alone. Nelson is pleading not guilty. The state is not asking for the death penalty if she's convicted.

Find Deborah on Facebook at ABC13DeborahWrigley or on Twitter at @wrigleyabc13

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