She once was a part-time model and a nanny in Egypt.
But not that many years later, Omaima Aree Nelson
was being compared by a Costa Mesa police detective to real-life serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and fictional cannibal Hannibal Lecter.
That's because sometime during Thanksgiving weekend 1991, when she was 24, Omaima bludgeoned her much-older newlywed husband to death, skinned his torso, cooked his decapitated head, fried his severed hands in cooking oil and placed his body parts in trash bags.
She was arrested by Costa Mesa police, convicted by an Orange County jury of second-degree murder in 1993 and sentenced to 27 years to life
in state prison. She has been behind bars ever since.
She is scheduled for her second parole hearing next Wednesday at a women's prison in central California. She was rejected in her first bid for parole in 2006.
Slender with olive skin and doe-like eyes, Omaima was a part-time model when pilot William Nelson romanced and married her after just a few weeks in 1991.
Bill Nelson, who weighed 230 pounds and stood 6 feet 4 inches, brought her to live with him in Costa Mesa in 1991.
She was 24. He was 56.
Omaima Nelson later told psychiatrists and her attorney that she had been the victim of horrendous abuse as a child in Egypt when she was molested, beaten and forced to undergo a circumcision, a mutilation of the female genitalia.
She admitted that she went through a series of dysfunctional relationships with other men in the United States before she met Bill Nelson.
The couple married within days of the first meeting, she said, and honeymooned with Nelson's family in the southwest before returning to Nelson's apartment in Costa Mesa.
It didn't take long for the romance to sour, she claimed.
She told a story that her new husband raped and beat her several times
, including once when she threatened to leave him. She said she felt isolated with no one to turn to when on Thanksgiving weekend in 1991 during a particularly brutal assault she fought back and killed him with a pair of scissors and an iron.
But Orange County Deputy District Attorney Randy Pawloski argued to the jury in 1993 that it was Omaima who was the predator. He contended that the exotic beauty established a pattern of seducing older men, tying them up during sex acts and robbing them.
Omaima, the prosecutor said, went after Bill Nelson for his money.
Pawloski argued to jurors that Omaima shackled her husband to a bed during a sex-play ruse sometime during Thanksgiving weekend in 1991, and then murdered him in cold blood with the scissors before she systematically dissected his body.
Neighbors said the garbage disposal inside the Costa Mesa apartment seemed to run continuously for the next two days
. She was arrested the day after the bloody Thanksgiving weekend while driving Bill Nelson's red Corvette. She had been going from one ex-boyfriend's house to another, seeking their help in disposing of bags of body parts.
When the coroner's office weighed the accumulated body parts during the autopsy, 80 pounds of Bill Nelson was missing
Even more troubling, according to Pawloski, was evidence that she told a psychiatrist that she dipped her husband's ribs in barbeque sauce and tasted them
The Orange County District Attorney's office is opposing Nelson's parole application, contending among other things that she has not taken advantage of self-help programs in prison, has not admitted problems with drugs or alcohol and continues to pose a high risk of dangers to others
"This was one of the most gruesome and notorious crimes ever committed in Orange County," he wrote to the parole board in September. "The victim ... was abused, defiled and mutilated during and after the offense. ... His murder was carried out ... in a manner which demonstrates an exceptionally callous disregard for human life."
Omaima Nelson, Pawloski warned the parole board, "is very crafty, criminally sophisticated and an enterprising individual. ... Make no mistake – she will tell you anything you wish to hear for her own personal gain.
"Inmate Nelson lacks total insight into her life-commitment offense and has no remorse," Pawloski added. "She should be kept in prison for the maximum denial period."