Murder victim’s family wants suspect’s capital murder charge reinstated

Posted at 12:37 AM, Oct 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-05 16:10:11-04

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR) – Jennifer Cisneros is on a crusade. Ever since her aunt’s alleged killer’s charges were reduced to first degree murder, Jennifer has felt restless and angry.

So, Thursday she met with the Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Shannon Taylor, and asked her to reinstate the suspect's capital murder charge.

“I felt like if we don`t speak up now, it`s going to be too late,” Jennifer said.

Last March, Gregory Nelson, Jr. was initially charged with first degree murder in the stabbing death of Susanna Cisneros. At the time, Cisneros was nine months pregnant.

Five months later, then Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Wade Kizer added an additional charge of capital murder for killing the baby and Susanna.

But three months later, the new Henrico Commonwealth’s attorney Shannon Taylor, dropped the capital murder and fetal homicide charges based on “legal intent”. 

That is, she's bound by the law.

Thursday, Taylor stood behind her decision to leave the charge of first degree murder, and not reinstate the capital murder charge.

“[Shannon] says there were no [stab] wounds to the stomach, but [Nelson] killed her,” Cisneros said. “She was 9 months pregnant and he knew that, but did nothing to save the child.”

Nelson is expected plead guilty to first degree murder October 25. This was not a plea deal. The defense asked for the plea, according to Jennifer.

A first degree murder charge, which carries a sentence of 20 years to life.

“Hypothetically, he can get 30 to 40 years and to me, that’s not enough,” she said.

We asked Taylor about her decision not to reinstate, and she sent us the following statement:

"I respect and am sympathetic to the Cisneros' family's position. However, due to the Court's directive, I cannot comment any further at this time."

Taylor says she will be able to speak about the case after the October 25th plea.