ORLANDO, Fla. – A week-long trial ended Friday with the jury finding Scott Nelson guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a Winter Park caretaker.
Closing arguments were presented Friday, a day after Nelson testified that he killed Winter Park caregiver Jennifer Fulford. The jury delivered a verdict shortly after 4 p.m. He was found guilty of kidnapping, carjacking and robbery as well as first-degree murder.
The penalty of phase of the trial will begin at 9 a.m. Monday. Nelson is facing the death penalty.
In shocking testimony, Nelson provided grave details about how he killed Fulford, 56, in September 2017.
News 6 legal analyst Steven Kramer said it's unclear if the testimony helped or hurt the defense team's legal strategy.
"What attorney would go ahead and let a defendant go on the stand, confess to a killing when the death penalty is at issue?" Kramer said.
Kramer said since a judge denied an insanity plea, it's possible the defense allowed him to testify in front of jurors, so they could witness his behavior firsthand.
"Maybe if the jurors heard this testimony, and heard how twisted it was that maybe some juror would believe that something is not right and wonder why there wasn't an insanity defense," said Kramer. “That this guy's too far gone, you know, to understand what’s going on. The lights are on, but nobody's home kind of argument.”
During Friday's hearing, the state went over the timeline of Fulford's events on Sept. 27.
"What she didn't know was two weeks earlier someone who was a complete stranger to her had already hatched a plan to get some money," the state said.
The state went on to describe the moment Nelson stabbed Fulford.
"He stabs her several times in the back, multiple times in the front. He says he recognizes he stabbed her in the heart," state added. "There is no doubt that Mr. Nelson plotted, planned, premeditated this home invasion robbery and that when Ms. Fulford did not comply with his requests she became his collateral damage."
After completing their closing arguments, Nelson's attorney argued killing Fulford was not premeditated.
"He has always said he killed her. He has not backed down from that, but it wasn't premeditated," Nelson's attorney said.