Power outage halts murder trial, traps several in courthouse elevators

Scott Nelson charged in slaying of Winter Park caretaker Jennifer Fulford

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager

ORLANDO, Fla. - A power outage Tuesday in downtown Orlando halted the murder trial of Scott Nelson, who's accused of killing Winter Park caretaker Jennifer Fulford, and trapped several individuals inside elevators at the Orange County Courthouse.

The outage affected the Orange County Courthouse, which houses the state attorney's office, and a nearby 7-Eleven. 

Orlando fire officials said the outage trapped seven people in seven different elevators. All were safely rescued.

A smoke odor was reported on the sixth floor, but nothing was found, officials said.

The incident lasted about 90 minutes, according to fire officials.

The cause of the outage is not known.

During the outage, no one was allowed to enter the courthouse.

The trial later resumed.

Nelson, 55, is accused of kidnapping, carjacking and killing Fulford in September 2017. 

Tuesday marked Day 2 of Nelson's trial, with more witnesses being called to the stand.

Opening statements and testimony began Monday.

Prosecutors said Fulford was stabbed several times and was found face down in a vacant field days after she was reported missing. 

"Found in a field, bound together with duct tape that he bought, the zip ties that be bought and stabbed with the knife that he bought," said Kelly Hicks, of the state attorney's office. ​​​​​​

Fulford was hired by Reid Berman to clean his home and help take care for his two children.

Berman told jurors he knew something wasn't right on the day she went missing because she never picked up his son from school like she usually would. 

"I called the two local hospitals. Because this was so highly unusual that she was missing or had not called me," Berman said.

Defense attorneys told jurors the state needs more evidence to link Nelson to the crime. 

"Not guilty, unless you all find that the state can prove without reasonable doubt," said Nelson's attorney, Robert Larr.

Nelson is charged with first-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.

Nelson could face the death penalty, if convicted.

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