Thursday, April 21 2011 4:51 PM EDT2011-04-21 20:51:56 GMT
Gregory Nelson, Jr. waived his right to a preliminary hearing and now awaits a trial date.More >>
HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – A new charge has been filed against the Chesterfield man accused of killing his pregnant mistress in Henrico County.
Gregory Nelson, Jr., was charged Tuesday with the premeditated murder of a fetus, which carries a potential penalty of 20 years to life in prison, if convicted.
Nelson, 27, is accused in the March 9 stabbing death of Susana Cisneros, 24, a former co-worker who family members say was nine months pregnant with Nelson's child. Until now, Nelson was being held in Henrico only on a charge of first degree murder.
When asked about the latest charge, Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney Wade Kizer wrote in an e-mail that he has not made a decision whether to pursue a capital murder charge, which is punishable by death upon conviction.
NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin says prosecutors consider numerous factors before pursing a capital murder case.
"One thing is for certain. If he [Nelson] were to be charged with capital murder, just the sheer outlay of dollars, the sheer cost of that prosecution and defense would be astronomical," Benjamin said, adding that such cases require much more time, along with additional defense attorneys.
"One of whom would be a very experienced and very aggressive capital murder specialist," Benjamin said.
A Cisneros family spokesperson declined to comment when asked if the family supported the death penalty option in this case.
Nelson, a married father, fled to Florida in the days following the murder. He was arrested three days later by the U.S. Marshals Service and is expected to stand trial in late October.
In a separate development, 13 subpoenas were issued this week in advance of the trial. They include four Henrico Police investigators and one officer along with five Chesterfield County police officers and one sergeant.