Jury recommends life in prison for Scott Nelson

A jury has recommended a sentence of life in prison, without the possibility of parole, for a man convicted of kidnapping and then brutally killing a woman.

Jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision on whether Scott Edward Nelson, 55, should be put to death for the murder of house manager and nanny Jennifer Lynn Fulford, 56.  Deliberations took over 16 hours before jurors arrived at their decision.

In Florida, jurors must be unanimous when arriving at a death sentence for those convicted of capital crimes.  Ultimately, there was at least one juror who decided that life in prison without parole was going to be the best option for Nelson.   During the trial, prosecutors described Nelson as cold and calculated.

"On September 27th, 2017, Jennifer Fulford became a means to an end," prosecutor Kelly Hicks said in her closing arguments. "He couldn't get to his end game of being able to take that witness stand and being able to rail against the world and get the attention he wanted to get from the crime he committed, unless he went big. Go big or go home. And, he went big."

During the trial, the jury saw surveillance video of Nelson buying his knife, duct tape, and zip ties two weeks before forcing his way into a swanky Winter Park home.

Nelson tied Fulford up in her employer's home and put duct tape across her entire face, before wrapping her up in a duvet from the master bedroom.  He then took her to an ATM, stealing her money.  He later stabbed her to death in a field.  

Throughout the trial, Nelson has been very vocal about how horribly he was treated while spending over 25 years in federal prison.  He claimed that he had been beaten and raped.  He also said he contracted hepatitis C during one of those alleged sexual assaults. He made it clear to the jury that he would rather die than go back to prison. 

Nelson's defense team told the jury that Fulford's murder was not premeditated.

"The robbery was planned. Murder was after the robbery went terribly wrong," the defense attorney Chelsea Simmons said.

She asked the jury for mercy, saying she believed a life sentence without parole would be appropriate.