Jonathan Foster had long desired to live with his mother, Angela, but his family prevented it due to her instability. In 2010, Foster’s wish came true – he moved in with his mom, who temporarily lived in Sharon Ennamorato’s apartment. The outgoing kid had received instructions not to let anyone other than Sharon and Angela in.
Therefore, Angela was surprised when she received a phone call from the apartment and heard a woman speaking with Foster. Angela rushed home to investigate, but she was too late: Foster had disappeared; his badly burnt body was found four days later.
Mona Nelson was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for the murder of Foster.
Nelson is incarcerated at Gatesville Correctional Facility, where she’ll likely spend the rest of her life
Nelson will likely spend the rest of her life at the Gatesville Correctional facility. The legal challenges against her conviction and sentence have failed, including a 2015 appeal at the Fourth District Texas Court of Appeals.
A website dubbed Justice4Mona claims she is ‘in the process of filing a writ of habeas corpus at the state court level in hopes that her case will be overturned’.
The break in the case happened when authorities acquired surveillance footage showing a woman exiting a truck before dumping a body on the ground. They identified the woman as Mona Nelson, a welder and former professional boxer.
The police searched Nelson’s house, finding mountains of evidence that tied her to the crime, including the twine that may have been used to tie Foster’s body and the welding equipment that she may have used to disfigure his body. Houston Police Officer Mike Miller said:
“Once we arrived at her [Nelson’s] house, we stumbled into a wealth of evidence, evidence that showed perhaps his body was burned at the residence, evidence that showed the items he was burned with, evidence that had us pretty shaken up in collecting it.”
Nelson told KTRK the equipment proved she was a welder, not a murderer. Officer Miller painted her as a cold-blooded killer: “There’s only been one or two people I’ve ever talked to that had eyes like she did; it was pretty cold.”
Nelson’s attorney, Allen Turner, said in court that there was no evidence linking Nelson to Turner’s abduction. “To convict this woman and send her to prison for the rest of her life without parole on this evidence I think would be a huge mistake,” Turner said. “I’m not a monster,” Nelson told KTRK.
Judge Jeannine Barr convicted Nelson of capital murder and sent her to prison for life. “I’m innocent,” Nelson insisted, “and maintain my innocence. I wouldn’t harm anybody.”
Prosecutors opined that Nelson killed Foster in a drunken rage
Despite tying Nelson to the crime, prosecutors couldn’t decipher why she killed the fifth-grader. They concluded she killed him in a drunken rage because he refused to open the apartment door. Prosecutor Connie Spence said (per KPRC):
“Perhaps alcohol altered her personality. I believe he did not do something she wanted to do at that moment, she injured him and then she eventually killed him.”
Nelson said David Davis, Foster’s stepfather, paid her $20 to dump a plastic container. She said she was drunk and didn’t investigate the container’s contents. However, Jonathan’s body wasn’t found in a plastic container, and investigators cleared Davis of any involvement in the crime – he was drinking at a bar when Foster died.
After the verdict, Davis told KPRC: “She tried to accuse me of having something to do with it. It’s hard enough to lose someone you love without being accused of it. I’m just thankful that she can’t hurt any more children. It would be nice if she was to repent and explain why she did it.”
Angie Johnson, Nelson’s sister, told KTRK that Nelson couldn’t have killed Foster: “She showed no signs of doing anything to anybody illegal. I don’t believe at all she has anything to do with killing a child. That’s not Mona.”
Foster’s family opined that the police took too long to issue an Amber Alert following the boy’s disappearance. “The cops kept thinking [Jonathan] ran away,” Mary Gifford, Foster’s grandmother, told ABC News.
Gifford said she couldn’t understand Nelson’s actions: “I’m trying to hang in there, but what would be going through your mind if this happened to your child? I keep thinking ‘Why did she do it? Did she torture him? Why didn’t she just let him come home?”
After the verdict, Angela said her son could ‘finally rest in peace’.