TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The first day of trial for a retired Tyler dentist accused of killing his wife in June 2012 wrapped up on Wednesday.
Bobby Nichols is charged with killing his wife, 71-year-old Rosalind Nichols. Police said an argument behind closed doors that evening led to Rosalind's death.
Monday morning in a pretrial hearing, the judge reviewed numerous motions pertaining to Nichols' trial. He also swore in about three dozen witnesses. Tuesday, the judge recalled Nichols' case to make sure the attorneys, the defendant and witnesses were all prepared for trial.
KLTV's Melanie Torre was in the courtroom and provided live updates throughout the first day of the trial.
Crime Scene Investigator tells what he saw at scene of shooting
Malmstrom is a crime scene investigator for Tyler Police.
Malmstrom explains what he has been trained to do when entering a crime scene for the first time. Malmstrom says he notices where the casings, the victim and the weapon were.
Vance shows Malmstrom 34 images from the crime scene. These images are shown to the jury. Thephotos show the shell casings, the gun, Rosiland's body, and the couch cushion with a bullet hole in it. The images show the bullet went through Rosiland's stomach, through the couch cushions, through a table tucked under the couch and into the wood floor beneath the couch. The images also show there was a separate bullet found in the couch that was not the bullet that hit Rosiland.
Photos of Rosiland's body and the gunshot wound with a significant amount of blood on her clothing are published to the jury.
Vance starts asking Malmstrom about a trajectory rod analysis that was done to get a better idea where in the room the bullet came from.
The judge calls a scheduled recess and the trial will resume Thursday at 8:30 a.m.
Police officers who responded to call take the stand
Grissom has been a police officer for 24 years. Grissom supervises six patrol officers on the evening shift.
Grissom explains the COBAN system Tyler police use to record audio and video through their patrol cars.
The State shows the jury the COBAN (like dash cam) video from when Sgt. Grissom got called to the Nichols' house.
The video shows Grissom turn on his lights and sirens as he speeds from Broadway and Rice road to the Nichols' house in minutes.
When Grissom gets there, another officer has put cuffs on Nichols.
Grissom says he went into the house through the front door. He recalls, to the left, there was a white female sitting on the couch and a shell casing on the floor. He says they saw two shell casings, didn't touch anything and secured the crime scene.
One shell casing was on the floor of the entry way and another was on the floor near a table lamp in the living room. He says the two casings were not very far apart.
Grissom says EMS arrived and hooked up a machine to Rosalind and determined that she was deceased.
The State calls Mary White, a paramedic for East Texas Medical Center.
White says they were sent to the scene but told to stage, meaning the scene is not yet safe and the ambulance should stay a few blocks away. After police searched the property, they called EMS in to the home. White says Rosalind was cool to touch, meaning she'd been siting there for a little bit of time. White says they hooked their EKG monitor up to Rosalind and she was deceased. White says they did not treat her. White says Rosalind was sitting in an upright position and White doesn't recall there being a lot of blood.
The State calls Judge Gary Alfred, Justice of the Peace Precinct 2.
Judge Alfred says one of the many things he must do for his job is respond to the scenes of murders and pronounce someone dead.
Rosalind's death certificate is admitted into evidence. The certificate shows her cause of death was a gunshot wound to the torso.
The State calls Donald Malmstrom.
State continues to call witnesses to the stand
Faith says she has known Nichols for more than 20 years. She says she has worked at the country club for 35 years. Faith says the afternoon before the crime, Nichols had a full lunch and one drink, a crown and diet coke. She says he was at the club for two hours. She says he did not appear to be intoxicated. Faith says Nichols was her dentist. She describes him as one of the nicest men she has ever met and adds that he always seems happy and smiling a lot.
The state calls Fred Hull.
Hull is a friend of Nichols'. Hull says he has known Nichols longer than Nichols has been married to Rosalind. Hull says he met Nichols at Dakota's sometime between 3:30-4 p.m. Hull says they had plans to meet there for a drink to catch up since Nichols and Rosalind had just returned from Italy.
Hull says Nichols only had one or two drinks. He says Nichols is a light drinker compared to him. Hull describes Nichols as "a talker and sipper."
Hull says Nichols left Dakota's before him... Probably around 5 p.m. Hull says Nichols was in a pretty good mood but tired from his trip.
The state calls Officer Mitch Rogers with the Tyler Police Department.
Rogers was the first officer on the scene along with Officer Lott, who he was training. He says as a police officer he'd rate the danger of the call to the Nichols' a 9 out of 10. Rogers says they parked out of sight from the house and positioned themselves behind a tree in case gun fire started coming from the house. Rogers says he was preparing the officer who he was training that this could become a suicide by cop situation and that he needed to be prepared. Rogers says Nichols came out and surrendered. He says immediately after walking in he saw the victim on the couch. Rogers instructed the officer he had been training to check Rosalind's vitals since he used to be a paramedic. That officer reported Rosalind was deceased. Rogers says when the officers determined there was no one else in the house, they secured the scene and waited for detectives to arrive.
The State calls Officer Brandon Lott. Lott had been on the force for about 6 months. This was his first murder call. Lott tells the same story Rogers did about what they were preparing for and what they did when they got to the home. Lott says he took the very initial photos of the scene. Lott says he checked Rosalind's pulse and to see if she was breathing. The photos Lott showed the gun sitting in a table in the living room, not far from Rosalind's body.
Lott says he remained at the crime scene for several hours until detectives had obtained a search warrant.
State calls Officer Compton.
Compton also responded to the scene. He says he arrived at approximately 9:09 p.m. Compton exited his vehicle with an AR-15, his standard patrol rifle. Compton says he positioned himself behind a neighbor's tree.
Compton says waiting for the suspect to come out is always an adrenaline rush because you don't know if the shooter is near you, watching you or if there is another shooter. He recalls Nichols coming out of the house with his hands up and being placed into custody by another officer. Compton, like Lott and Rogers, entered the residence.
Compton says the weapon appeared to have a jam. Compton rolled out some of the crime scene tape and set up a perimeter around the house.
The state shows the jury photos taken from outside the residence.
The state calls Officer Andrew Hill.
Officer Hill says he has been with the department for two years. Hill did not go into the house. He says he walked Nichols to the curb and then put him in their patrol vehicle. Hill doesn't believe he was at the scene for longer than an hour. Hill says he transported Nichols to the Tyler police department.
The defense asks if Nichols was handcuffed in the front or the back. Hill says, the back.
The state calls Sergeant Darin Grissom.
State begins to call witnesses
The State calls David Dial. On the stand, David, the son-in-law of Rosalind explains that he married Rosalind's daughter Michelle. Bobby Nichols is Michelle's step-father who came into her life when she was a teenager.
David says his wife and their children live 6 houses away from the Nichols. Their three young children called Rosalind, "Ra-Ra." David says they had a great relationship with the Nichols' who had an open gate policy allowing the kids and their friends to swim in their pool as long as they had adult supervision.
Rosalind was what David would consider "the perfect mother-in-law." She was there in a moments notice if needed but respected their privacy. David says Rosalind was fun, a prankster, classy and always upbeat.
David says Nichols was considered a friend, they got along well and would golf together on occasion.
David tells the jury he did witness Bobby and Rosalind argue. "Bobby would lose his cool over insignificant items, like if the rolls weren't in the oven when the meat was ready," David says.
Bobby says he always saw Rosalind try to diffuse the situation and that she never blew up or tried to fight back.
David brings up a fish fry in the fall of 2011. David said Nichols got frustrated and made a statement that stands out to him now, "[Expletive], I'm going to kill that lady someday."
Dial starts telling the jury about the day they learned of Rosalind's death. The family had just returned from a baseball game when two men approached their house and told them they needed to get to Rosalind's immediately. David said he'd stay with the kids while his wife went to the house to see what had happened. David said when he heard what had happened he took of in a sprint for the house where he found his wife with police.
David describes the mayhem of the scene. You can hear him fighting back tears recalling the day's events. The prosecutors show the jury a photo of Rosiland laying on the couch after she had been shot.
David and the prosecution briefly discuss Nichols' birddog who was in bad health. When the dog was 13 years old, Nichols shot and killed him because he didn't want to take the dog to the vet to be put down.
The state passes the witness.
David and the defense go over what David knew of the Nichols' relationship. David says they both drank often.
David says Rosalind was very active and always meeting up with friends, re-decorating the house and occasionally working out. Nichols' attorney, Bradley Lollar, asks why Rosalind might resent Bobby for "staying gone all day." David says he does not know why because Rosalind wanted Bobby to get out of the house and be active instead of laying around and watching TV all of the time.
David says he did not know Rosalind to work outside of the home in the 12+ years he had known her.
The state calls Faith Fullerton, an assistant manager of Willowbrook Country Club.
Court listens to 911 call from Nichols
The 911 call made by Nichols is played for the jury. This is not a complete transcription due to the fast talking and the audio being someone difficult to make out.
It begins, "This is Doctor Bobby Nichols. I just killed my wife and I need an ambulance..."
911: Where's your wife at now?
Nichols: She's on the couch.
Nichols: I shot her.
911: What type of gun? A 9mm.
Nichols: I've got her sitting up, but she's dead. I'm a dentist... a retired dentist.
Nichols: I shot her in the stomach area. She died almost instantly. I shot her twice.
Nichols: I'm 75 years old and I just had all I could handle. I'm almost sure she's dead.
The 911 dispatcher asks Nichols his wife's name and age.
Nichols: Rosalind. R-o-s-a-l-i-n-d, 71.
Nichols: I went and got this [gun] because she just wouldn't shut up.But I'll miss her.
Nichols is heard chuckling after he says he'll miss her.
Nichols: We started arguing and arguing and I said shut up.
Nichols: This is a nice neighborhood. I would have shot her more than twice but the gun... It uh... It didn't shoot but twice.
911: Did the gun not function?
Nichols: Yes, that's exactly right. That's the second time I shot her
911: I want you to stay on the phone with me and walk to the front door and put your hands in the air, ok?
Nichols: Ok, it's not far.
911: Walk towards the front door, stay on the phone with me.
Nichols says he sees the police coming. Then you hear men talking to Nichols and the call ends.
Nichols pleads not guilty
Smith County Assistant District Attorney Richard Vance reads the indictment to the jury.
Nichols pleads not guilty.
Vance thanks the jury for being here as tells the jury, though Rosalind isn't here, she thanks them too. Vance says this case is very straight forward and tragically simple. Vance says a mother is no longer there for her children and a grandmother is no longer there for her grandchildren at the hands of that man, Vance says pointing at Nichols. Vance tells the jury to prepare themselves for the first piece of evidence because it is a chilling 911 call in which Nichols calmly tells 911 that he killed his wife because "she just wouldn't shut up."
Vance tells the jury Nichols wanted Rosalind dead. Vance tells the jury Nichols put a bullet into Rosalind's stomach that crossed in and out of her, clipping a vein and causing her to bleed out internally. "He missed once. He wasn't going to miss again," said Vance.
"It ought to disgust you. It ought to disturb you when [Nichols] said on the 911 tape, 'I would have shot her more than twice but the gun.... It didn't shoot,'" Vance says.
"He was going to fill her with as much lead as he could, but the gun jammed," Vance says.
"You may wonder why we're here... well we're here because he wanted a jury trial," Vance says pointing at Nichols.
Vance tells the jury he knows they will make the decision with their verdict.
The defense will make their opening argument after the state has rested their case.
The State calls Kathryn Bond, a 911 dispatcher.
Keep checking back to KLTV.com for the latest developments in the trial.
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