Tanya Nelson
Tanya Nelson
Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's Office

Tanya Jaime Nelson Gets Death

A North Carolina woman received the death penalty today for murdering a Westminster fortune teller and her college-student daughter, whose heads and hands were covered in white paint.

Tanya Jaime Nelson, 46, of Roanoke Rapids, NC, had been found guilty by a jury Feb. 16 of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, the special circumstances being the murder of multiple victims, murder by lying in wait and murder during the commission of robbery. She and an accomplice killed the pair and stole credit cards, expensive jewelry and other items.

The jury had recommended death for Nelson.

Her co-hort, Phillipe Zamora, 55, also of Roanoke Rapids, pleaded guilty April 14 to two felony counts of first degree murder and was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison.

Zamora testified against Nelson.

The grisly slayings of Ha Smith, 52, and Anita Vo, 23, are detailed here and here.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office released a statement today that includes the a recounting of what Smith's older sister, and Vo's aunt, told the court at sentencing.

"No amount of time will ever heal the pain nor erase the memory of the ingrained and horrific images, nor the silence the gut-wrenching testimony that has been exhibited and addressed in this court," she said. "Justice has been served."


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