Life in prison for man who killed pregnant girlfriend

Posted at 9:54 AM, Feb 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-22 00:14:49-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Gregory Nelson was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his pregnant girlfriend. Last year Nelson pleaded guilty to first-degree murder of Susana Cisneros.

Nearly 20 members of the Cisneros family was inside courtroom five today and watched as Gregory Nelson, Jr. was escorted in in handcuffs.

Susana's niece, Jhennifer and her sister, Maria described the pain they have endured the past two years.  Maria is the same sister who found Susana stabbed to death behind a dumpster in a Henrio County parking lot.  Both Jhennifer and Maria said "time has not healed their wounds."

In March 2011, Cisneros, 24, was 9-months pregnant with Nelson’s baby, when she was killed.  Authorities said her unborn son died due to lack of oxygen.

During today's sentencing hearing, the family became extremely emotional when they talked about never getting the chance to meet the baby, they said Susana planned to name Christopher.  Jhennifer said she never imagined she would see the baby "in a casket."

Maria explained to the judge with the help of an interpreter how "very difficult" the past two years have been for herself and her family.  Maria also described the pain she has daily as she watches her mom and dad "crying day and night."

Nelson and Cisneros both worked together at the Chipotle on West Broad Street near Staples Mill Road. Nelson was her manager. Prosecutors said Nelson used a knife from the restaurant to commit the murder.

Several character witnesses also took to the stand for Gregory Nelson, Jr.  His mother, Francine Nelson, a former neighbor Kenneth McKinnon, Nelson's former co-worker and  licensed psychologist Dr. William Stejskal spoke on behalf of the now convicted murderer.

Francine Nelson told the judge, their family went through years of abuse from Nelson's father Gregory Nelson, Sr.  Francine told the judge Nelson has taken responsibility for what he did and is remorseful.  She pleaded to the judge to spare her son by not handing down the maximum sentence.  After addressing the judge, Francine turned to the Cisneros family telling them she understood their pain and prayed they could forgive her son.