Nichols trial begins for aggravated robbery

By Ryan Carpe rcarpe@civitasmedia.com

May 5, 2014

DARKE COUNTY - Cory M. Nichols of Arcanum began his trial today based on a charge of aggravated robbery, a felony of the first degree, after injuring a 73-year-old woman during a theft attempt at the Darke County YMCA parking lot in Greenville this past September.

Nichols went on the run after the robbery, eluding law enforcement, until Darke County Crime Stoppers received a tip as to his whereabouts. After his arrest he was taken to Miami County and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for a felony assault that occurred prior to the Darke County offense.

Nichols faces an additional maximum sentence of 11 years and a $20,000 fine if convicted as charged in Darke County. Greenville defense attorney David A. Rohrer was appointed as Nichols’ counsel in the case.

In total, the trial is planned to include about 15 witnesses with nearly 40 pieces of evidence, and although there is no set time for completion, Common Court Pleas Judge Jonathan Hein estimated that the trial would likely run until at least Wednesday of this week.

According to the prosecution’s opening statements on Monday, the case boils down to three essential pieces of evidence.

First, the prosecution points to Nichol’s cell phone being found in the victim’s vehicle after the assault. The cell phone was returned to the YMCA’s lost and found, and Nichol’s later reclaimed his phone.

Secondly, Nichol’s shirt was later sent to a crime lab for analysis and was found to have traces of the victim’s DNA on it.

And finally, according to the prosecution, a wallet belonging to the victim’s husband was found in a garbage receptacle, and was later discovered to have Nichol’s DNA on it.

The prosecution believes that Nichols found a fellow YMCA member’s keys, went to his car while he was was working out, but was later surprised by his wife who got into the car unexpectedly.

Since Nichols was already allegedly behind the person in the car, the prosecution indicated that he slammed her face into her vehicle’s console to prevent himself from being identified, which was described as “a very vicious assault.”

During the defense’s opening statements, Greenville defense attorney David A. Rohrer pointed to the fact that there were no fingerprints or DNA evidence to indicate that Nichols was in the vehicle. Furthermore, Nichol’s behavior, which included informing the front desk of the victim’s injuries and asking if she needed help, would not be typical of a person who had just committed the assault himself.

Rohrer also indicated Nichols’ full cooperation with the Greenville Police, which included allowing them to conduct searches of his cell phone, vehicle and YMCA locker, which did not yield evidence tying him to the crime.

The Daily Advocate will be following the trial throughout the week, so stay reading for updates.