Odessa man sentenced to life in prison for 2018 murder of common law wife


ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- An Ector County jury found Jerome Nelson, 34, guilty for the 2018 murder of his common law wife 28-year-old Rochel Zuniga. Nelson has been sentenced to life in prison. 

According to a previous report, around 2:20 a.m. on April 27, 2018, officers with the Odessa Police Department responded to Sunset Apartments in the 9100 block of Andrews Highway after Nelson called 911 to report the death of Zuniga. When police arrived at the scene, they found Zuniga dead, holding a shotgun in her hands. OPD also found a revolver on the bed. 

According to a probable cause affidavit, Nelson told dispatch Zuniga had woken him by pointing a gun at his face. Nelson told investigators when he took the gun from her hands, Zuniga grabbed a shotgun. At that time, he said he shot her with the revolver he’d taken from her. Nelson then told police he passed out after he saw Zuniga fall to the floor and that when he later woke, he contemplated what to do before calling the police. 

Jail records indicate Nelson had previously been charged with assault in 2007, 2014, and 2015. 

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