Nichols Trial: From the date of the crime to a 20 year sentence - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports


Nichols Trial: From the date of the crime to a 20 year sentence


Retired Tyler dentist Bobby Nichols was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the June murder of his wife.

A jury deliberated for six hours before deciding on Nichols' sentence. He'll have to serve at least ten years before he's eligible for parole. At that time, he'll be 86 years old.

On June 29, 2012, police raced to the Nichols' Southeast Tyler home. It was there they found 71-year-old Rosalind Nichols dead in the living room. Her husband had already confessed to the crime.

In the 911 call Nichols says, "This is doctor Bobby Nichols. I live at 3417 Allen. I just killed my wife and I need an ambulance... and I need the sheriff to come get me."

Nichols was booked into jail, and days later released on bond. He'd later violate that bond by purchasing alcohol on multiple occasions.

Outside the Smith County Courthouse in July, Nichols told KLTV 7 what he had done when he blurted out, "I killed my wife."

Just a month earlier, Rosalind and Bobby Nichols had joined Tyler Junior College alumni on a trip to Europe. During the trial, Nichols said Rosalind got frustrated with his deteriorating physical health on that trip.

"We had problems, like everybody, but it has left me awful empty," Nichols testified during the trial.

On the stand, Nichols said he intended to scare Rosalind, but did not mean to kill her. The state didn't buy his defense.

"I don't know why you keep badgering me and badgering me," Nichols said to prosecutors after a series of questioning.
"Well, because you murdered your wife," they responded.

Prosecutors said Nichols' story didn't match up with what he'd said the night of the crime.

On June 29, 2012, the 911 dispatcher asked Nichols, "You're not trying to hurt yourself or anybody else, are you?"

Nichols replied, "No. In fact, I would have shot her more than twice, but the gun...sort of... it didn't shoot but twice."

Many of Nichols' friends testified that he was a peaceful man with a respectable reputation.
But after a week of trial, Nichols seemed to know things weren't going his way. On Wednesday evening he emerged from the court office shaking his head "no" and making a slicing motion across his throat with his finger. The jury found him guilty.

Thursday afternoon, attorneys asked the jury to put a sentence with that verdict.

"We're going to proudly ask you to sentence him to a term of confinement of life and to give him exactly what he took from Rosalind Nichols," said Smith County Assistant District Attorney Jason Parrish.

"You've heard that he has been a good provider for his family all his life, and the State says that should count for zero," argued Nichols' defense attorney Bradley Lollar. Lollar asked the jury to sentence Nichols to five years in prison.

Ultimately, the jury decided Rosalind's death was a crime of sudden passion. That meant, jurors unanimously believed someone with an ordinary temper may have acted the way Nichols did under the circumstances. For Nichols, that meant the most time he could serve dropped from life in prison to 20 years.

As he was being taken back to the jail, Nichols caught his family members' eyes. Across the courtroom, Nichols waved to them and mouthed, "I love y'all."  He blew kisses to them and gave them one last reassuring thumbs up. They were words and gestures of a parent's goodbye-- something Rosalind's children will never get to see or hear. 

Rosalind and Bobby Nichols were married for more than 25 years. Nichols reserves the right to appeal the jury's verdict.

To read a more extensive account of each day of the trial, click here.

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