Gruesome details are expected to be recounted this week when a state parole board decides whether an ex-model who dismembered her husband then cooked and ate his body parts should be freed after nearly two decades behind bars.
At the time of the sensational Orange County case, detectives compared Omaima Nelson to the fictional cannibal killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. She is seeking early release from California Central Women’s Prison, where she is serving 27 years to life for the second-degree murder of William E. Nelson.
Orange County Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Randolph J. Pawloski is fighting her release, saying he will never forget the horror of visiting the couple's home.
“There were suitcases and plastic bags soaked with dark liquid from his body parts. In the fry cooker there sat Mr. Nelson’s hands and when we opened the refrigerator there was Mr. Nelson’s head with stab wounds,” Palowski recalls. “She had his entrails in his Corvette and she was trying to get an ex-boyfriend to yank out the dentures from the head so she could dump it in the Back Bay.”
The memory of those details is why the veteran prosecutor who sent her to prison will take the rare step of personally appearing at a parole hearing in Chowchilla on Wednesday to oppose her request for early release.
“It is certainly one of the most gruesome and notorious crimes ever committed in Orange County and sometime people need reminding of that,” he said. “It is probably the most egregious mutilation murder we’ve had here.”The way she defiled and mutilated her husband, he will tell the parole board, demonstrates an exceptionally callous disregard for human life, he said.
“Make no mistake -- she will tell you anything you wish to hear to get what she wants,” he said.
Jurors deliberated for six days before rejecting Nelson's defense that she was a battered woman who killed in self-defense after being repeatedly abused and raped the night before the killing. Because of a lack of premeditation they deemed it a second-degree murder.
In court, a psychiatrist testified that Nelson put on red shoes, a red hat and red lipstick before spending hours chopping up her husband's body. " 'I did his ribs just like in a restaurant,' " the psychiatrist quoted Nelson as saying. She revealed she sat at the kitchen table with her husband’s cooked remains and said out loud: " 'It's so sweet, it's so delicious .... I like mine tender,' " the doctor recalled.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Omaima Nelson. Credit: KTLA News