Retired Tyler dentist Bobby Nichols was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the June murder of his wife.
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
Nichols was booked into jail, and days later released on
bond. He'd later violate that bond by purchasing alcohol on multiple
Outside the Smith County Courthouse in July, Nichols told KLTV 7 what he had done when he blurted out, "I killed my wife."
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
"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.
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.
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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