Neighbors' Reaction To Murder Conspiracy Charge

By: Lauri Martin
By: Lauri Martin

A story you'll only see here on KKTV 11 News...
As new details surface about a man accused of intentionally killing his three children in a house fire on Undimmed Circle, neighbors say they are shocked. The district attorney's office revealed Friday they're charging the father with the more serious crime of conspiring to murder his children. They say the motive was insurance money to pay off drug debt and say Nicholls and his wife had been planning for a year to kill their kids.

On March 7, 2003, the house on Undimmed Circle went up in flames, killing 11 year old Jay, 5 year old Sophia and 3 year old Sierra. Their father was arrested for their arson murders this past July. Ever since, the case has been under a gag order. On Friday though, the DA’s office released evidence, an interview with Nicholls’ jail cellmate. The cellmate says Nicholls confessed to him the details of that fateful night. And neighbors were shocked to hear of the latest allegations.

The cellmate says Nicholls told him the living room furniture was doused with Goof-Off, an industrial strength cleaner and added the couple had the kids sit on the furniture before bedtime to absorb the highly flammable substance. The cellmate explained Nicholls then knocked over a burning candle and watched the house go up in flames. He added that Nicholls could hear his oldest, Jay, crying from upstairs.

Magdaline Branch lives around the corner from the burned up home. She says she’s shocked about the latest development. "I find it hard to believe. On the outside, they seemed like the perfect couple, the kids were always playing outside.”

Neighbors say they wish the home would be torn down. “I don't like to see home, it bothers me greatly to see it," Branch said. But nothing can be done to the house until after the trial because it is considered evidence. The trial is scheduled to start in August.


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