Omaima Aree Nelson
Omaima Aree Nelson

[UPDATED with Victim's Daughter at Parole Denial:] Omaima Aree Nelson and the Prosecutor Trying to Keep the Model-Cannibal in Prison: Then and Now

UPDATE, OCT. 5, 5:24 P.M.: From the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) statement on Omaima Nelson's parole denial this afternoon:

"The victim's daughter Margaret Nelson was also present at the hearing and told the [parole] Board how her father was taken from her when she was a 15-year-old high school sophomore and how he has missed her growing up and becoming a mother."

Before denying her parole, the OCDA continued, the board "took into consideration the facts of the case, Nelson's criminal history, and her lack of responsibility, remorse, rehabilitation, and self-improvement."

It seems Nelson has kept herself busy behind bars.

"The Board also cited reports that she has continuously engaged in the habit of having relationships, including conjugal visits, with older men while incarcerated for financial gain," states the OCDA.

At least she hasn't eaten any of them. Yet.

Nelson will next be eligible for a parole hearing in 2026.

UPDATE, OCT. 5, 4:59 P.M.: The Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, meeting at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, today denied parole for Omaima Aree Nelson. Like Nelson's Thanksgiving weekend 1991 crime--dismembering, disemboweling, cooking and freezing the body of her new husband and later eating parts of his body--the 43-year-old former Egyptian model's second bid for parole has garnered international attention.

And an old nude black-and-white.

And a plea from PETA.

Nelson's request for parole was opposed in person by the prosecutor who put her away, Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Randy Pawloski. Nelson was sentenced on March 18, 1993, to 25 years to life in state prison for second degree murder, with a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a knife and, in a separate incident, assault with a firearm.

In that second case, Nelson also bound her victim on the pretense of bondage sex, as she had done with the late William E. Nelson, her husband of three weeks.

Pawloski cited Omaima's heinous crimes, extensive criminal history, prison rules violations and failures to rehabilitate, show remorse or take responsibility for her crimes as reasons to keep her locked up, claiming she would be a threat to public safety.

Nelson insists that she murdered, decapitated, dismembered, and disemboweled her husband in self-defense. And her one-time lawyer told the Los Angeles Times before the parole hearing that Nelson should be set free.

"She has served 20 years and she deserves parole," Thomas Mooney reportedly said. "The notoriety of this case is what she did with the body after she killed him. But she killed because she was abused. The psychiatrist testified at trial [that] in his over 20 years of experience she was in the most psychotic state he had ever seen."

In her 2006 request for parole, which was also denied, Nelson told the board she had found salvation as a "born-again" Christian, the Associated Press reported. "I felt that I was doing the right thing by exercising this judgment as I was killing him," she said during the parole hearing. "I'm not denying that I did what I did and I'm very sorry for the . . . family."

UPDATE, OCT. 4, 11:12 A.M.: The Orange County Distrrict Attorney's office (OCDA) is not only opposing the parole of Omaima Aree Nelson based on the Egyptian-born cannibal's extensive criminal history before the grotesque crimes that put her away, nor is it just the Thanksgiving weekend 1991 dismembering, disemboweling, cooking, freezing and partial eating of her husband of three weeks. As the OCDA statement after the jump reveals, prosecutors also cite Omaima's behavior while incarcerated, which has included violations for fighting inmates, battering a staffer, hiding contraband, stealing, arguing and something unheard of for an ex-fashion model: "not being in compliance with grooming standards."

October 4, 2011


SANTA ANA - Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of a woman who killed her husband of three weeks over Thanksgiving weekend in 1991 by dismembering, disemboweling, cooking and freezing his body. Omaima Aree Nelson, 43, is currently being held at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, CA. Nelson was sentenced March 18, 1993, to 25 years to life for second degree murder, with a sentencing enhancement for personal use of a knife and, in a separate incident, assault with a firearm. Nelson is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, Oct. 5, 2011, at 10:30 a.m., at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations.

Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Randy Pawloski, who originally prosecuted the case, will appear to oppose Nelson's parole.

Facts of the Case
Nelson met her husband, 56-year-old William Nelson, two months before getting married in November 1991. Over Thanksgiving weekend, between Nov. 28, 1991, and Nov. 30, 1991, after three weeks of marriage, she murdered and dismembered William Nelson. She cut off the victim's genitals and then cooked the victim's decapitated head and placed it in the freezer. She boiled William Nelson's hands in oil. She used the garbage disposal to dispose of much of the body, and other body parts were thrown out in the apartment building dumpster. Several body parts were found in the trunk of a car and in the apartment.

Nelson was arrested on Dec. 1, 1991, by the Costa Mesa Police Department after she contacted an acquaintance to help her dispose of the body. During the trial, Nelson gave varying and conflicting statements as to what had happened. The jury rejected her claim that her husband repeatedly beat and raped her. Subsequent medical examinations and photographs showed no signs of abuse or injuries to the inmate other than those sustained while dismembering the victim.

Extensive Criminal History
The defendant was previously convicted of several crimes including two counts of auto theft and shoplifting on Dec. 10, 1987, hit and run with property damage on July 31, 1989, shoplifting and battery for biting a security officer on July 10, 1989, driving under the influence on Jan. 24, 1990, driving without license on June 17, 1990, and assault with firearm in November 1990.

Nelson has been cited for seven major rule violations while incarcerated between 1993 and 2005 including fighting in the dayroom, battery on a staff member, hiding contraband, stealing donated headphones, two citations for mutual combat, and failure to comply with instructions. She was also cited for eight minor rule violations between 1995 and 2004 including disturbing class by getting into a verbal argument, being in possession of unissued property, being out of bounds, failure to report to class, failure to report to an assigned job, using the telephone at an unassigned time, laying on her bunk while prison staff took count of inmates, and not being in compliance with grooming standards.

Inmate's Lack of Rehabilitation and Remorse and Continued Threat to Public Safety
The OCDA's parole opposition letter states that the murder was "carried out in an especially heinous, atrocious, cruel and callous manner. The victim was defiled and mutilated after the offense, and the motive for the crime was inexplicable."

The inmate has failed to complete any educational or vocational classes while incarcerated and has failed to abide by prison rules.  Her extensive criminal history and prison violations not only indicate an escalating pattern of criminal conduct and violence, but also demonstrate the inmate's failure to rehabilitate. Nelson has never taken responsibility for the crime and insists that she murdered, decapitated, dismembered, and disemboweled William Nelson in self-defense. She has never expressed any remorse. Her lack of rehabilitation and remorse make her a threat to public safety if released from state prison.

ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 3, 2:25 P.M.: And now more from Orange County Senior Deputy Dist. Attorney Randolph J. Pawloski's statement to the state parole board opposing the release of Omaima Aree Nelson, the Egyptian-born model who bludgeoned, skinned, chopped up and ultimately ate parts of her husband of two months in their Costa Mesa apartment: "There were suitcases and plastic bags soaked with dark liquid from his body parts. In the fry cooker there sat Mr. Nelson's hands and when we opened the refrigerator there was Mr. Nelson's head with stab wounds. She had his entrails in his Corvette and she was trying to get an ex-boyfriend to yank out the dentures from the head so she could dump it in the Back Bay."

And now more from Omaima herself, as related at her original 1993 trial by a testifying psychiatrist (via the LA Times' Richard Winton):

In court, a psychiatrist testified that Nelson put on red shoes, a red hat and red lipstick before spending hours chopping up her husband's body. " 'I did his ribs just like in a restaurant,' " the psychiatrist quoted Nelson as saying. She revealed she sat at the kitchen table with her husband's cooked remains and said out loud: " 'It's so sweet, it's so delicious .... I like mine tender,' " the doctor recalled.

More gruesome details, just in time for Halloween, are in our original post:


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >