Fred Hull, who met Bobby Ray Nichols for drinks at a Tyler restaurant earlier in the day the defendant is accused of shooting and killing his wife Rosiland, said the two discussed a trip that Nichols and his wife just took to Italy.
“Bobby said he was tired and he couldn’t do what he used to do — he had an artificial hip, and she got upset sometimes because he couldn’t walk with the rest of the group,” Hull testified in response to questioning from defense attorney Bradley Lollar.
Nichols, 76, a retired dentist, is accused of shooting and killing his wife Rosiland inside their Tyler home on June 29. His wife was 71 at the time of her death. Nichols admitted to police he killed her after the two argued about his time spent away from home every Friday. He pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in the Smith County 7th District Court on Wednesday.
The defendant could receive a sentence of five to 99 years or life in prison if convicted, prosecutors said.
In a call played for jurors on the first day of testimony, Nichols could be heard calmly telling an emergency dispatcher that the two had been having problems. “She just wouldn’t shut up — I’ll miss her,” Nichols said to the operator as he chuckled.
“She kept on and on and she wouldn’t leave me alone. I sort of went crazy,” Nichols said on the tape. The defendant also said on the recording that he had been former Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith’s dentist. “I deserve whatever I get,” he said on the tape.
Hull said Nichols seemed to be in a good mood on June 29 and that he never saw the defendant argue with his wife. Smith County Assistant District Attorneys Richard Vance and Jason Parrish are prosecuting the Nichols case.
“He fired one, it missed and went into the couch. He wanted her dead. He goes up to her and puts a bullet in her stomach. That bullet clips an artery and a vein and she bled out internally,” Vance told jurors. The third time he tried to shoot the gun, it jammed, Vance said.
“He left her there to die — he didn’t call 911 right away,” Vance said. He added that even though Nichols had admitted to shooting his wife, he had the constitutional right to a trial.
Lollar reserved his opening statement to the jury.
David Dial, who is married to Mrs. Nichols’ daughter, Michelle, described his mother-in-law as “fun, classy and upbeat,” saying she was close to their three children and “was always there for us.”
Dial became emotional when he talked about the close relationship between Mrs. Nichols and the close relationship she had with her daughter and her children, saying the two families enjoyed frequent dinners and get-togethers. Dial said before the killing that he frequently went hunting and fishing with Nichols.
But Dial testified that he had seen Nichols lose his temper on several occasions when the couple would prepare a meal together. “Bobby would lose his cool over certain things,” Dial said.
He recounted an instance where the two fought at a fish fry at their home. Nichols cursed and said “ … I’ll kill that lady some day.”
Mrs. Nichols, Dial said, stayed very active and had many friends. Lollar asked Dial if Mrs. Nichols was resentful of the time her husband spent socializing with friends on Saturdays. “She wanted him to play golf — she didn’t want him to sit around and watch TV,” Dial said.
Several police testified about the events that happened that night, and Tyler Police Investigator Donald Malmstrom showed jurors pictures of the deceased and the wounds she received during the shooting.
Testimony will continue Thursday.