Woman Who Killed Husband and Cooked Body Denied Parole

Abused wife killed husband and cooked body in "psychotic episode."

ByABC News
October 5, 2011, 4:30 PM

Oct. 5, 2011 — -- A California woman has been denied parole from a 25-years-to-life prison term she's been serving for killing her husband -- and then cooking and eating some of his remains.

Omaima Nelson, a former nanny and model whom prosecutors compared to the fictional cannibal Hannibal Lecter, was convicted in 1993 of second-degree murder in the death of her 56-year-old husband, William. A psychiatrist testified that she was probably psychotic at the time of the killing.

Nelson, a native of Egypt who was 23 at the time of the murder, will not again be eligible for parole for 15 years, or until 2026, according to a prosecutor at her parole hearing, Randy Pawloski.

Nelson was not represented by an attorney as she appeared before parole commissioners at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowcilla, Calif.

She was denied parole partly because, according to Pawloski, she shows no remorse, takes no responsibility for her actions and still blames the victims.

Over Thanksgiving weekend in 1991, prosecutors said Nelson pulled out a pair of scissors and stabbed her husband in their apartment in Costa Mesa, Calif. She then cut off her husband's head and genitals.

According to the DA's office, Nelson cooked her husband's hands in oil, boiled the head and placed it in the freezer. She later used a garbage disposal to get rid of the chopped-up body parts.

Nelson claimed she was acting in self-defense because her husband was sexually assaulting her; prosecutors claimed that she was probably planning to rob him. They said she enlisted the help of two ex-boyfriends to remove her husband's teeth so his remains could not be identified.

The district attorney's office said Nelson "has failed to complete any educational or vocational classes while incarcerated and has failed to abide by prison rules."

Pawloski said Nelson should remain behind bars and is still a threat to public safety.

Nelson previously tried to seek parole in 2006, but was denied after prosecutors argued she was a still a threat.

According to The Associated Press, attorney Terrence Scott, who represented Nelson in the 2006 appeal, said the reason she chopped her husband's body into parts was so that she wouldn't meet him in the afterlife, as Egyptian myth purportedly claims will happen.

"It is certainly one of the most gruesome ... crimes ever committed in Orange County and sometime people need reminding of that," Pawloski told the Los Angeles Times.

Thomas Mooney, Nelson's defense attorney at the time of the trial, said abuse from several men, including her husband, triggered the psychotic event.

"She's been in custody for 20 years and perhaps she should be granted parole because at the time, she said she was being raped by the deceased and acted in self defense, which would reduce the case to manslaughter."

Nelson moved to the United States from Egypt in the late 1980s. She met William Nelson, a convicted marijuana drug smuggler, after moving to California.

"She wanted the lifestyle of Southern California, which was very exciting to her," said Mooney.

Two months month later, the couple married.

Nelson testified during the trial that at an early age, she had a forced circumcision that caused her much pain growing up. When she moved to the U.S., she said she was abused by several men, including William Nelson.

Right before Thanksgiving in 1991, Omaima Nelson and her husband took a trip to several states, including Texas and Oklahoma. On their way back to California, Nelson claimed her husband abused her and threw her cat out of the window of their car. Nelson claimed he also handcuffed her to chairs and sexually abused her.

A psychiatrist who testified during the trial said Omaima Nelson was psychotic and suffered from post traumatic stress disorder.

Mooney said he believes Nelson killed because of the abuse she suffered 20 years ago, and now deserves parole.

However, the parole commissioners took into account many different factors, including the prison's recommendation and Nelson's record at the prison.

The case is listed as one of the 50 most notorious crimes in Orange County history.

ABC News' Melissa Morrissette and The Associated Press contributed to this report.