Tanya Nelson Sentenced to Death in 2005 Cali Double Murder

Started by heidi salazar, January 13, 2010, 09:08:11 PM

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heidi salazar

January 13, 2010, 09:08:11 PM Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 09:31:05 PM by Jeff1857
Woman could die for fortune teller killing

SANTA ANA - Opening statements are scheduled Thursday in a death penalty trial for a North Carolina woman accused of stabbing and murdering an Orange County fortune teller and her daughter during a home invasion robbery in April 2005.

Tanya Jaime Nelson, 45, of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., could become only the second woman in Orange County history to be sentenced to death if a jury convicts her of murdering Westminster fortune teller Ha Smith, 52, and Anita Vo, Smith's 23-year-old daughter, on April 21, 2005.

Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste has charged Nelson with several special circumstances that could lead to a death sentence, including that she committed multiple murders and that she murdered for financial gain, during the commission of a burglary, during the commission of robbery, and by lying in wait.

Balleste and defense attorney Ken Reed are expected to deliver opening statements before Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel Thursday at 9:15 a.m.

Philippe Zamora, 55, Nelson's co-defendant, also of North Carolina, pleaded guilty last April to two felony counts of first degree murder and is expected to testify against Nelson. He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Feb. 26.

Zamora admitted when he pleaded guilty that he traveled with Nelson from North Carolina to Orange County in order to rob Smith, who was known to wear expensive jewelry. Zamora said Nelson has been a longtime friend and fortune-telling client of Smith, and that they gained entrance into the Smith household under the ruse that Nelson needed a fortune reading.

But once inside, Zamora admitted, Nelson stabbed Vo, a college student to death, and then ordered Zamora to do the same to Smith, according to court documents.

Zamora said he hit the fortune-teller over the head with a champagne bottle and stabbed her multiple times with a kitchen knife.

Nelson then ransacked the victims' home with Zamora, stealing personal items including cell phones, purses, jewelry, a laptop computer and credit cards, according to Balleste.

Zamora and Nelson later bought white paint at Wal-Mart, returned to the crime scene and poured the paint over the two victims, Zamora claimed in his guilty plea form.

The bodies were discovered the next day after a friend phoned police after she became alarmed when he did not hear from Vo, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Nelson was arrested after she used stolen credit cards to purchase a plane ticket to return to Orange County in May 2005 and during a shopping spree at South Coast Plaza, prosecutors said.

Zamora was arrested June 1, 2005 at his home in North Carolina.

Detectives serving a search warrant at Nelson's North Carolina planner found a checkbook-sized planner on a desk in the dining room, according to court documents. Someone wrote two words inside the box for April 21:

"Horrible sin."

The only other woman to be sentenced to death in Orange County history was Maria del Rosio "Rosie" Alfaro, who received the death penalty in 1992 for stabbing 9-year-old Autumn Wallace multiple times during a home-invasion robbery two years earlier to get money to buy drugs.

Alfaro, who is now 38, remains on Death Row.

http://www.ocregister.com/news/nelson-228971-zamora-death.html

14dp

Nelson was arrested after she used stolen credit cards to purchase a plane ticket to return to Orange County in May 2005 and during a shopping spree at South Coast Plaza, prosecutors said.

Proof positive that stupidity itself should be a felony. 

Totally off the subject but could someone explain why fortune telling, palm reading, talking to the dead, etc is 100% for women?  Can anyone imagine one guy telling another guy that "soon you will find love, become rich and travel the world.....?  It will be 20, please."  I know this will not get me any karma points but guys are smart enough to know it's all bs, including haunted houses and ghosts.   On balance, an average guy is stupid enough to believe that a Russian woman he is about to marry is is in love with him.   

heidi salazar

#2
February 11, 2010, 09:37:18 PM Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 05:08:22 PM by Heidi
Former Valley woman faces death penalty

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- Closing arguments began Wednesday in the trial of a former Roanoke Rapids woman charged with killing an Orange County, Calif., fortuneteller and her daughter five years ago. Tanya Nelson and her accomplice Phillipe Zamora killed Ha "Jade" Smith because Nelson was upset at losing her lover and the fortuneteller told her she couldn't change reality, Senior Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste told jurors.

Nelson, 45, of Roanoke Rapids, is described as the mastermind behind the April 2005 slayings of the 52-year-old Smith and Anita Vo, 23, who was a student at Orange Coast College. They were stabbed as many as 10 times and their faces and hands were covered in white paint, which may have been an attempt to cover up evidence, authorities said.

Nelson is accused of persuading her accomplice Phillipe Zamora to take part in the murders by promising to fix him up with gay sex partners. Zamora is also a former Roanoke Rapids resident. Nelson was a Valley business woman before moving to California.

Defense lawyers will begin their closing arguments Thursday.

Zamora, who pleaded guilty last year to two counts of first-degree murder with a potential sentence of 50 years to life in prison, was the prosecution's key witness against Nelson. He testified Feb. 1 that Nelson wanted Smith dead because she was angry about her fortune.

Nelson, who also uses the name Phuong Thao Nguyen and used to live in Orange County, is accused of assuming the identities of the victims after the killings, spending more than $3,000 on clothing and buying plane tickets for a family vacation in Southern California.

Smith, known as Miss Ha in the local Vietnamese community, did card and palm readings from an office at a strip mall in Midway City. She was known nationally among Vietnamese-Americans as a skilled fortuneteller and had clients from as far away as New York.

If convicted, Nelson could be eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

http://www.rrdailyherald.com/articles/2010/02/11/news/doc4b7468ea8dd52218623324.txt

heidi salazar

#3
February 17, 2010, 05:16:38 PM Last Edit: February 17, 2010, 05:24:10 PM by Heidi
Woman convicted in fortune-teller murders

SANTA ANA - A North Carolina woman sat motionless in court Tuesday as she was convicted of murdering a Westminster fortune teller and her daughter in April 2005 after she received a fortune that did not come true.

The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated for about a day before finding Tanya Jaime Nelson, 45, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the stabbing deaths of Ha "Jade" Smith, 52, and Anita Vo, 23, plus several "special circumstances" that could lead to a death sentence.

Superior Court Judge Frank F. Fasel scheduled a penalty hearing to begin Tuesday. If the same jury recommends that Nelson be executed for the double murders, she would become only the second woman to get the death penalty in Orange County history.

Smith's sisters, Nicky Phan, of Vancouver, Canada, and Huong Kempf, of St. Louis. Missouri, watched the verdicts in the courtroom gallery with tears brimming in their eyes. Later, they wept as they hugged Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste.

Co-defendant Phillipe Zamora, 55, also of North Carolina, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of first-degree murder and agreed to cooperate with authorities in the prosecution of Nelson. He will be sentenced to 50 years to life in prison later in the year.

He testified for two days through a Vietnamese interpreter and told the jury that he joined Nelson on the murderous mission after Nelson promised to introduce him to potential gay sex partners in Orange County.

Zamora said he was present in Smith's home on April 21, 2005, when Nelson began stabbing Anita Vo, prompting Smith to scream. He testified that he panicked when Nelson yelled at him, "Kill her! Kill her! Don't let her scream!"

He said he picked up a wine bottle and hit Smith in the shoulder to silence her before he wrestled her to the ground and stabbed her repeatedly with two knives.

"It happened so quickly," Zamora told the jury. "I didn't know what to do ... I didn't want her to scream."

Zamora also testified that Nelson told him on the return flight to North Carolina that Smith was targeted for death because she gave Nelson a fortune that did not come true.

Nelson felt cheated because Smith predicted for Nelson that her business would do well if she relocated from Orange County to North Carolina, Zamora said, but instead Nelson ended up her losing her house.

Smith "did the fortune-telling for her and it was not accurate," Zamora testified, and therefore Nelson felt that Smith "deserved to die."

Anita Vo, 23 was stabbed to death with her mother, Zamora added, because Nelson felt she had also "deceived her, cheated her, like her mom."

Defense attorney Ken Reed argued that Zamora made up that story to implicate Nelson and escape a death penalty prosecution.

Reed argued that Zamora was the sole killer, and that his client was not present when the two victims were slashed to death.

Nelson faces the death penalty hearing next week because her jury convicted her of the special circumstances of committing multiple murders, murders during the commission of robbery, and murder by lying in wait.

Balleste contended that Nelson orchestrated the murders with Zamora because of the bad fortune, and that after the two women were slain Nelson ransacked the Westminster house and stole money, jewelry and credit cards.

Jade Smith's body was found in a pool of blood and soaked in white paint inside the home she also used in her fortune-telling business. Vo's body was found about ten feet away - also covered in white paint. Both women had been stabbed multiple times.

Nelson was arrested about five weeks later after Westminster detectives followed up on leads that revealed she flew to Orange County for a fortune-telling appointment with Smith on the day of the slayings and that she was using credit-cards stolen from the murder victims.

Westminster detectives also found a day planner in her North Carolina home with two words handwritten in the box for April 21, 2005.

They read "Horrible sin."

http://www.ocregister.com/news/nelson-234678-smith-zamora.html

14dp

This is the best proof that fortune tellers are frauds and con artists.   One thing they should be able to predict is their own death, for crying out loud, and get out of the house before it's too late!   Being able to predict a misfortune would have been helpful in this case. 

On my island, they would be required to inform their "clients" that everything they will hear is a complete fabrication, that the odds of their  predictions being correct are no greater than if they flipped a coin, and that the only requirement to be a fortune teller is a bad foreign accent and being a pathological and shameless liar.   

In addition, they would be required to maintain a record of all, false and correct, predictions.   They would also have to post a bond in the event a client suffers a loss as a result of acting on the fortune teller's advice. 

For the record: I am against killing fortune tellers and their loved ones.   

heidi salazar

She didn't tell her fortune..she gave her a spell, and happy ass Tanya went back to NC and didn't cast it right! She probably screwed her circle up and had all the wrong colored candles in the wrong place to represent each element.... Neither here nor there really...If she receives the DP she will be 701, or 702 on DR in Cali?

Jeff1857

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A Southern California jury recommended the death penalty Tuesday for a North Carolina woman convicted of murdering a Vietnamese fortuneteller and her 23-year-old daughter.

The same Orange County panel convicted Tanya Nelson of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., last month of masterminding the murders of fortuneteller Ha "Jade" Smith and Anito Vo in 2005.

"I think justice has been served," Smith's sister, Nicky Pham, said of the jury's recommendation. "`My sister can rest in peace now."

Smith's other sister, Hong Kempf, said she felt the panel's recommendation was fair.

"You give and you get," Kempf said.

Nelson hired Smith to get her ex-lover back. But when the soothsayer told her to accept reality, she became upset and plotted to drive across the country to kill her, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Smith and her daughter were stabbed as many as 10 times and their faces and hands were covered in white paint, which may have been an attempt to cover up evidence.

Nelson lured her accomplice, Phillipe Zamora, 55, into the murder scheme by promising to fix him up with gay sex partners, prosecutors said.

Zamora, a key witness against Nelson, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of first-degree murder and faces 50 years to life in prison.

Nelson, who also uses the name Phuong Thao Nguyen and used to live in Orange County, was also convicted of robbery for stealing Smith's expensive jewelry and assuming her identity after the killings to buy $3,000 in clothing and plane tickets for a family vacation in Southern California.

She traveled from North Carolina to Westminster intending to murder Smith, returned home and was arrested when she came back to Orange County on a family vacation, prosecutors said. When she was arrested, she had Smith's stolen credit cards, identification cards and designer luggage.

Smith, known as Miss Ha in the local Vietnamese community, did card and palm readings and had clients across the country. She was famous among Vietnamese-Americans for wearing expensive jewelry and was considered a skilled fortuneteller.

Nelson will be sentenced on March 26.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100303/ap_on_re_us/us_fortuneteller_murder_2

heidi salazar

 ;D
Smith actually gave Nelson  a spell that didn't work!

Instead of the price of a plane ticket she should have joined match.com!

heidi salazar

Fortuneteller slaying accomplice gets prison sentence

SANTA ANA, Calif.  -- A Roanoke Rapids man who helped murder an Orange County fortuneteller and her daughter has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Phillipe Zamora was sentenced Friday, nearly a year after pleading guilty to burglary and murder.

Prosecutors say he and Tanya Nelson stabbed the Westminster women to death with kitchen knives in 2005. Nelson was convicted of murder last month and a jury recommended the death penalty. Nelson, also a former Roanoke Rapids resident and businesswoman, is due to be sentenced Friday, March 26.

Authorities say Nelson decided to kill Ha "Jade" Smith and her daughter Anita Vo because the fortuneteller refused to grant her wish to be reunited with a lover.

After the slayings, Nelson stole Smith's expensive jewelry and went on a $75,000 spending spree using her credit cards.

http://www.rrdailyherald.com/articles/2010/03/26/news/doc4ba564635c22a551335666.txt

Jeff1857

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A woman has been sentenced to death for murdering a fortuneteller and her daughter after the victims were unable to get her ex-lover back.

Prosecutors say Tanya Nelson of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., was sentenced Friday in Santa Ana for masterminding the murders in 2005.

Prosecutors say Nelson hired fortuneteller Ha "Jade" Smith to get her ex-lover back, but she drove across the country with an accomplice to kill her after the soothsayer told her to accept reality.

Prosecutors say Smith and her 23-year-old daughter Anito Vo were stabbed and their faces and hands were covered in white paint, which may have been an attempt to cover up evidence.

Nelson's accomplice Phillipe Zamora was sentenced last month to 25 years to life in prison.

http://www.kcba.com/global/story.asp?s=12365593

heidi salazar

Fantastic news!

turboprinz

give the scumbag a face....
I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

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