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Woman gets death in killing of fortuneteller, daughter

April 23, 2010 |  4:51 pm

An Orange County judge sentenced a woman to death Friday in the fatal stabbing of a Westminster fortuneteller and her daughter.

Tanya Nelson, 46, of North Carolina was convicted earlier this year of the 2005 slayings of Ha Jade Smith, 52, and her daughter, Anita Vo, 23, in a crime that prosecutors said was motivated by a bad fortune.

Before Judge Frank Fasel handed down his ruling, Smith’s older sister, Nicky Phan, told the court of the horrific impact the killings had on the family.

“No amount of time will ever heal the pain,” Phan said.

Smith and her daughter were found stabbed and covered in white paint in their home. Credit cards, jewelry and cash were taken.

Five weeks later, police arrested Nelson in Orange County after she had assumed the identities of the victims and spent more than $3,000 in a shopping spree at South Coast Plaza.

Prosecutors say Nelson persuaded a friend, Phillipe Zamora, to take part in the plot. Zamora pleaded guilty last year to two counts of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison.

He testified that Nelson ordered him to stab Smith and that he panicked after seeing Nelson attack Vo.

-- Richard Winton