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CHOWCHILLA, Calif.—A California woman who killed her newlywed husband and chopped and cooked his body parts over Thanksgiving weekend in 1991 was denied her second bid for parole Wednesday.
Parole commissioners rejected Omaima Nelson's request for freedom following a five-and-half-hour hearing at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, where she has been serving a life sentence.
Then-23-year-old Nelson was convicted of murdering her 56-year-old husband William Nelson in a grotesque killing that authorities likened to the fictional slayings of Hannibal Lecter, the cannibalistic character in "Silence of the Lambs."
Nelson, now 43, represented herself at the hearing and argued that she should be paroled because she has become a changed person and she wanted "to live the good life God meant." She claimed she was sorry, though she continued to say she killed in self-defense.
But the two-person panel of the state Board of Parole found that Nelson, an Egyptian-born former model and nanny, continued to be a risk to society. Commissioners said she had not accepted full responsibility for the Orange County slaying, nor completed educational or vocational programs while incarcerated that would help her lead a productive life outside prison.
Nelson was "blaming anybody but herself," deputy commissioner Robert Barese said at the hearing.
Commissioners cited Nelson's criminal history, including shoplifting, auto theft and assault with a firearm, and her failure to abide by prison rules, including violations for fighting, battering on a staff member, hiding contraband, stealing, failure to comply with instructions and arguing.
They also found that Nelson had shown a pattern of exchanging sex with older men for money and goods, which in the past had led to violence.
William's daughter Margaret Nelson -- who was 15 at the time of the murder -- gave a long, tearful speech in which she said her father's murder meant he couldn't attend her wedding or meet her 8-week-old daughter.
"I don't have the language to explain the pain of my father not being there," the victim's daughter said.
Nelson will not be eligible to seek parole again for 15 years -- the maximum period she can be held without another hearing, the commissioners said. Nelson sat silently as her plea for parole was rejected.
Randy Pawloski, a senior deputy district attorney in Orange County who prosecuted the case and argued against her release, said he was glad Nelson was denied freedom, because "we've always thought this is an egregious case... and she's a danger to society."