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 grand jury has upgraded the charge against a Chesterfield man accused of murdering his pregnant mistress.
Henrico County Commonwealth's Attorney Wade Kizer told NBC12 today that a multi jurisdictional grand jury has indicted Gregory L. Nelson, Jr. for capital murder, a charge which carries the possibility of the death penalty upon conviction.
Nelson, 27, is accused in the March 9 stabbing death of Susana Cisneros, 24, a former Chipotle co-worker who family members say was nine months pregnant with Nelson's child. Her bloody body was discovered in a W. Broad Street restaurant parking lot. Until now, Nelson faced charges of first degree murder and premeditated murder of a fetus.
The capital murder indictment indicates that prosecutors plan to provide evidence to show that by killing Cisneros, Nelson intended to kill the unborn child as well.
"It was after serious consideration of all the facts in the case," said Kizer about the new charge. "We don't charge capital murder lightly and we try to take our time looking at all of the facts and what the evidence is," he added.
Nelson, who is married to another woman, twice eluded Chesterfield Police and traveled to Florida in the days following the high-profile murder, according to court papers. He was arrested three days later by the U.S. Marshals Service and is currently scheduled for trial in late October.
In an interview last month, NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin said prosecutors consider numerous factors before pursuing 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 on May 18, 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.
Sergio Cisneros, Susana's brother, said the family had minimal reaction to the capital murder charge.
"We already went through a lot of pain, and I feel bad for his [Nelson's] family. But we'll leave it up to the lawyers," Sergio said.
Kizer estimated that over the past ten years, there have been "8 to 12" capital murder cases in Henrico County.