Omaima Aree Nelson was born in a poor village in southern Egypt, some time in 1968. According to Nelson, her father was physically and sexually abusive towards her and her mother. She also said that she underwent female circumcision in her childhood, which made sex very painful for her.
Omaima's mother eventually left her husband, and the family moved to a slum in Cairo called the "city of the dead", due to shacks being built among the tombs there.
When she was eighteen, Nelson began a relationship with an American oil worker, and her mother pushed her to marry him. Seeing this as her way out of poverty, she married the American, and the two moved to Texas in 1986.
Unsurprisingly, the marriage did not last long. Omaima did not speak English very well, and she did not have any money. Eventually, she took up jobs as a nanny or a housekeeper, and even worked as a model at some point.
Theft was also a source of income for Omaima. She would move in quickly with the men she dated and spend all of his money. When confronted, Omaima would rob her boyfriend and disappear.
Second Marriage and Murder
Omaima met her second husband, William "Bill" Nelson, in October 1991. He was 56 and she was 23. Omaima was drawn to Bill after he flashed a large quantity of money and bragged about land he owned in Texas.
Bill married Omaima in a quick wedding within days of meeting, but what she did not know was the fact that he was still legally married. After meeting Bill's family in Texas and Arkansas, the couple returned to California.
On Thanksgiving Day 1991, Bill called his daughter and invited her to the couple's home for dinner. She declined, and this would be the last time she ever heard from her father.
Omaima claimed that Bill had sexually assaulted her the same day, and that she murdered him in self-defense. First, she stabbed him with a pair of scissors, then proceeded to beat him with a clothes iron and lamp.
After murdering Bill, Omaima dismembered his body, and cook his head. She then boiled his hands to remove fingerprints, and mixed various body parts with the leftover thanksgiving dinner. Some of Bill's body parts were also ran through the garbage disposal.
On December 1st, 1991, Omaima went to her ex-boyfriend Jose Esquivel for assistance. She had cuts on her hands and face, and told Jose that she had to kill her husband in self-defense, and that she needed help disposing of the body. Omaima offered Jose $75,000 and two motorcycles if he agreed to help her.
Jose told her that he would meet with her at her apartment after locating a truck to help with the body disposal. After she left, he contacted the police.
The police found Omaima in her husband's red Corvette, and next to her in the passenger's seat were trash bags filled with human organs, including lungs. When questioned about the origin of the parts, Omaima told police that the organs came from someone that Bill had murdered, then went on to say that her husband was on a business trip in Florida.
After obtaining a warrant, police searched the Nelsons' apartment and found a mountain of gruesome evidence. Bill repaired computers from his home, so there were a number of boxes containing computer parts, and among these boxes were suitcases. Inside the suitcases were trash bags, and in the trash bags were pieces of human remains. The police also found a broken lamp and a clothing iron that had human hair and tissues on them.
While conducting an extensive search, police found the mattress in the Nelsons' bedroom soaked in blood, and the bedposts were broken. In their bathroom, Bill's gutted, skinned torso was suspended from clothing hangars above the bathtub, bleeding out.
In the kitchen, they found Bill's hands in a deep fryer, mixed with turkey meat, floating in oil. In the garbage can, they found pieces of a human hip that was also mixed in with cranberry sauce and turkey. More shocking was the discovery of Bill's badly burnt head in the freezer. His head was wrapped in foil and placed behind bags of frozen vegetables.
Omaima was taken to the police station, and while giving her statement, she changed her story several different times. She claimed that a voice in her head "like a demon" was the reason that she dismembered her husband, then she brought up the rape and self-defense claims to investigators.
An examination was conducted at a nearby hospital, and no evidence of sexual trauma was found. Investigators also stated that the cuts on her hands, breasts and face were consistent with injuries received while dismembering a body.
The medical examiner was tasked with putting together Bill Nelson's remains and discovered that he was castrated on top of being dismembered, decapitated and disemboweled. His cause of death was determined to be caused by blunt-force trauma to the skull, and ligature marks were found on Bill's ankles. They were unable to determine if his hands were tied up since they were removed. The medical examiner also noted that Bill's body was cut with precision, indicating that his killer may have conducted dismemberment before.
What stood out to authorities was the fact that about 100 pounds of Bill's remains were missing. The Nelsons' neighbor told police that he heard their garbage disposal running consistently for two days, and he noted the sound started on the evening of Thanksgiving. He said the motor of the disposal sounded like it was straining.
Omaima made the shocking statement to her court-appointed psychologist that she had cooked her husband's ribs in barbecue sauce, and consumed them. In her statement on eating her husband's ribs, she said "it's so sweet" and "nothing was sweeter". Eventually, she recanted her statement and says she never committed cannibalism on Bill. She was diagnosed with PTSD and being psychotic.
Omaima was officially arrested for murder on December 2nd, 1991, and her trial began a year later on December 1st,, 1992. The defense presented evidence that Omaima had lured her husband Bill to partake in a bondage sex session, long enough for her to bind him to the bedposts. Prosecutors speculated that she demanded money from Bill, and after he refused, she decided to kill him.
The defense stated that Omaima suffered from PTSD, and they presented her genital mutilation as the cause of her trauma. They also stated that she was sexually abused by Bill throughout their brief marriage. Omaima claimed that before Bill's murder, he had tied her up, held her captive and raped her repeatedly over a period of several days. She testified that she was able to get one of her arms loose from her restraints, and that was when she hit him with the lamp and stabbed him with scissors. She also claimed that she has no recollection of dismembering her husband.
In January 1993, the jury deliberated on Omaima's fate, and on January 12th, she was convicted of second-degree murder. She was given a sentence of 27 years to life, and is currently serving time in the Central California Women's Facility.
Omaima was first eligible for parole in 2006, but this was denied because commissioners felt that she was unpredictable and a serious threat to others. She was eligible again in 2011, but was once again denied parole. This time, the denial was based on the fact that she refused to take responsibility for the murder, and would not be a very productive citizen if she was released.
Omaima will be eligible for parole again in 2026.
While in prison, she began a long-distance relationship with a disabled man who was in his 70's. The two got married and were allowed conjugal visits before her husband passed away. After his death, he left Omaima with a large amount of money.