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Man gets prison in murders of fortune teller, daughter

March 19, 2010 |  2:55 pm

A man convicted of helping kill a Westminster fortune teller and her daughter four years ago was sentenced Thursday to 27 years to life in prison.

Phillipe Zamora, 55, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of first-degree murder in the 2005 killing of Ha Jade Smith, 52, and Anita Vo, 23.

Zamora’s friend Tanya Nelson was convicted in February for the killings and could be sentenced to death later this month. Prosecutors argued that Nelson blamed Smith for telling a bad fortune and was so angered that she traveled from North Carolina to Orange County to kill her.

Zamora, a key part of the prosecution’s case against Nelson, testified that Nelson ordered him to stab Smith in her home and that he panicked after seeing Nelson attack Vo. Zamora and Nelson poured white paint on the victims' faces and hands.

Nelson’s attorney argued that Zamora testified against her to avoid harsher punishment.

--My-Thuan Tran