Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

O.C. fortuneteller, daughter slain over a bad fortune, prosecutor says

February 11, 2010 | 12:55 pm

A Westminster fortuneteller and her daughter were stabbed to death because a spell did not work, the prosecutor in the case said Thursday.

Suspect Tanya Nelson blamed the fortuneteller, Ha "Jade" Smith, for a love fortune gone bad and was so angered she decided to kill her, said Sonia Balleste of the Orange County district attorney's office.

A letter found in Nelson's North Carolina home indicated that Nelson wanted Smith to change the fortune, Balleste said. Smith wrote in the letter that she could not do that, Balleste added.

Balleste said Nelson was angered by Smith and decided to travel to Orange County to kill her. Nelson is accused of persuading an accomplice, Phillipe Zamora, to take part in the April 21, 2005, killing.

The bodies of Smith, 52, and daughter Anita Vo, 23, were found stabbed and covered in white paint in their home. The prosecution relied on the testimony of Zamora, who pleaded guilty last year to two counts of first-degree murder.

Defense attorney Ken Reed argued in closing statements Thursday that Zamora acted alone in the murders and testified against Nelson to avoid the death penalty. If convicted, Nelson could face the death penalty.

-- My-Thuan Tran in Santa Ana