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Viet Woman Faces Death for Double Murder

Bolsavik.com, Posted: Feb 23, 2010

Tanya Nelson, 45, a Vietnamese-American woman, was found guilty and might face the death penalty for the double murder of a fortuneteller and her daughter in Orange County.

After a month-long trial, it took the jury less than one full day of deliberation to find Nelson, whose Vietnamese name is Phuong Thao Nguyen, guilty on two counts of first-degree murder and also found true three allegations of special circumstances, which makes Nelson now eligible for the death penalty. Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste argued that Nelson was so angry at Smith for telling her an ill-advised fortune that she traveled more than 2,600 miles to kill her.

On the strength of forensics and the testimony of her accomplice, Phillipe Zamora, another Viet with a non-Vietnamese name, Nelson was convicted in the killing of Ha Smith, 52, and her daughter Anita Vo, 23. It probably didnt help that Nelsons diary for the day of the murder had the words Grave Sin written in English.

The jury also convicted Nelson on three of the special circumstances questions: Laying in wait, murder during commission of robbery, and multiple murders.

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