Prosecution begins laying out case against suspect in slaying of Winter Park caretaker

Scott Nelson could face death penalty

By Jerry Askin - Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Prosecutors began calling its witnesses Monday morning in the death penalty murder trial of Scott Nelson. 

Scott Nelson, 55, is accused of kidnapping, carjacking and killing Winter Park caretaker Jennifer Fulford in September 2017. 

Testimony began around Monday morning following 30 minutes of opening statements. 

Prosecutors say Fulford was stabbed several times. She 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, with 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.

Berman testified that nothing of real value was taken from his home, even though there were expensive things inside.

Prosecutors said video surveillance showed Nelson using Fulford’s debit card. 

"He premeditatedly brought a knife. A knife that perfectly matched the knife that was located in the field not far from Jennifer’s body," Hicks said.

Defense attorneys told jurors Monday 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," Nelson's attorney, Robert Larr, said.

News 6 also obtained copies of letters Nelson sent to the judge.

In one letter, he confessed to committing unsolved armed bank robberies and said he has information about eight other homicides.

In court Monday, prosecutors told the jury that months after Nelson was arrested, he wrote the judge a letter letting police know where to find the keys to Fulford’s car. Inside the car prosecutors say items were found matching his DNA.

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

According to court documents, his defense team expects the trial to last at least three weeks.  

Nelson could face the death penalty if convicted.

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