Henrico murder suspect spared possible death penalty - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Henrico murder suspect spared possible death penalty

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

A Chesterfield man now faces the possibility of life in prison, instead of the death penalty, if convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend.

Gregory Nelson, Jr., sat quietly during a pre-trial hearing Tuesday in Henrico that lasted more than four hours and brought the actions of Chesterfield County Police under intense scrutiny

In the early morning hours of March 9, 2011, Nelson was pulled over for speeding in Chesterfield. He was bloody and fidgety, officers said, and there was a bloody knife in the back of his car.

According to testimony, Nelson was detained for two hours after saying he'd been in a fight with a homeless man, and then he was allowed to go home. All of that took place before the body of Susana Cisneros was discovered.

The Chesterfield officer who conducted that stop took the stand Tuesday in defense of what happened in those pre-dawn hours before Nelson was named a suspect.

Among the central questions: Was Nelson detained too long for a speeding and (later) drug infraction? Was the incriminating evidence that was eventually found, discovered illegally? Were police reports inaccurately filed?

These three questions are at the heart of a hearing that could suppress critical evidence in the case against Nelson, a married father who's scheduled to go on trial for first degree murder in December.

The suppression hearing was continued to an undetermined date.

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