The family of a murdered Henrico mother and her unborn child now say justice isn't being done, and they blame the prosecutors in the case.
Susana Cisneros was found stabbed to death last year. Her family says she was killed by her estranged lover, who was married to someone else. Cisneros was expecting at the time, just two weeks from her due date. The little boy, later named Christopher based on her wishes, died too.
Now, the family says the man charged, Gregory Nelson Jr, should be sentenced to the death penalty. Originally, Nelson was charged with capital murder, because Christopher also died. But the charge was later nolle prosequi, or dropped without prejudice. At the time, the Cisneros family did not publicly complain. Now, they say prosecutors are getting it all wrong.
Nelson is due in court October 25, scheduled for a hearing to make a plea in the case. Jhenifer Cisneros, a spokesperson for the family, says prosecutors aren't listening to her family. After a meeting with them Thursday, she called the press.
She says the Cisneros family wants the death penalty back on the table, because they say the first degree murder charge doesn't recognize Christopher's death in the attack.
"She was nine months pregnant - two weeks from giving birth. How do you not recognize somebody like that?" said Jhenifer Cisneros.
She says she thinks prosecutors have an opportunity with this case to advocate for all unborn babies, killed by violence like this.
"I want this case to change the law," said Jhenifer Cisneros. "I think this case has so much potential and I know Shannon and her team have the resources, have everything in their hands to do so and I feel like they're just not going forward with it."
Several months ago, the prosecutors decided to nolle prosequi the capital murder charge for legal reasons. Often, in cases like this there's not enough evidence to prove the charge, so prosecutors decide not to proceed with it.
To follow through with a capital murder charge, prosecutors needed to show that Nelson specifically intended to kill Christopher.
Jhenifer Cisneros admits there were no wounds to Susana's abdomen. But she says she believes Susana was protecting Christopher, and has no doubts Nelson intended to kill him.
"I think his motive was Christopher. And he thought, 'Okay, if I kill Susana, Christopher won't have a chance.' I do believe in that."
What the Cisneros family believes may not matter when it comes time for court. Prosecutors will have the final say and will have to make the decision based on the evidence they have for trial.
The Cisneros family says the evidence exists to make the case stick with a capital murder charge and they're willing to take their chances with a judge or a jury.
Prosecutors say they can't comment because the case is ongoing.
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