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Ex-model who cut up husband, ate body parts, is denied parole

October 5, 2011 |  6:16 pm

Photo: Omaima Nelson during her sentencing in 1993 after being convicted of murdering her husband and dismembering his body. Credit: Los Angeles Times A woman who killed her husband, then chopped up, cooked and bagged parts of his body with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, was denied parole Wednesday in a lengthy and, at times, emotional hearing.

Omaima Nelson, 43, who was commonly compared to the fictional cannibal Hannibal Lecter at the time of the 1991 murder in Costa Mesa, said she was a changed woman, eager to live the "good life God meant."

The parole hearing was held at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, northwest of Fresno, where Nelson is serving a sentence of 27 years to life.

On hand was one of the original prosecutors who painstakingly rebutted Nelson's claim that hers was a crime of self-defense; and, at the end of the day, victim William Nelson's 35-year-old daughter, who wished not to be publicly identified.

"I don't know the adequate punishment for a murderer who doesn't even leave a family a body to mourn over. But I do know you don't let her out," the daughter said, looking directly at the two commissioners.

Orange County Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Randolph J. Pawloski described the crime scene as "literally a house of horrors. To enter in and see Mr. Nelson's head in the freezer ... his pelvic region thrown in bags with turkey, stuffing and the traditional accouterments."

Nelson denied eating any of her husband, though she was convicted of doing so.

"What was your purpose in cooking him?" asked Commissioner Cynthia Fritz.

Nelson declined to answer.

"I am sorry for dismembering him," she said.

As an example of how she would be safe to return to society, Nelson pointed to the conjugal visits she shared with her deceased latest husband, a man in his 70s who she married while in prison.

"We had three-day conjugal visits. There were knives in the kitchen. He never felt threatened or endangered in anyway. I loved him so much."

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-- Diana Marcum in Chowchilla, Calif.

Photo: Omaima Nelson during her sentencing in 1993 after being convicted of murdering her husband and dismembering his body.

Credit: Los Angeles Times

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