A Santa Ana jury Tuesday voted for the death penalty for a 46-year-old woman convicted of murdering a Westminster fortuneteller and her daughter, a crime prosecutors said was motivated by a bad fortune.
Tanya Nelson, 46, of North Carolina was found guilty last month in the 2005 stabbings of fortuneteller Ha Jade Smith, 52, and her daughter, Anita Vo, 23.
If the judge agrees with the jury’s recommendation at a formal sentencing later this month, Nelson would become the second woman to receive the death penalty in Orange County history.
Smith and Vo were found stabbed and covered in white paint in their home in April 2005. Credit cards, jewelry and cash were also taken from the home.
Five weeks later, police arrested Nelson in Orange County, after she had assumed the identities of the victims and spent more than $3,000 in a shopping spree at South Coast Plaza.
The prosecution relied on the testimony of Phillipe Zamora, who pleaded guilty last year to two counts of first-degree murder in the case and could be sentenced to 50 years to life.
Zamora testified that Nelson ordered him to stab Smith and that he panicked after seeing Nelson attack Vo.
– My-Thuan Tran