UPDATED: JANUARY 24, 2013, 5:18 PM., CST
Bobby Nichols was convicted Wednesday of murdering his wife, Rosiland.
He faced up to 99 years or life in prison for the charge, but because the jury found for “sudden passion,” the most he could receive was a 20-year sentence.
He will be eligible for parole in 10 years.
UPDATED: JANUARY 24, 2013, 11:15 A.M., CST
Nichols shot and killed his wife, Rosiland Nichols, on the night of June 29 after the two argued about Nichols' frequent absences from their home on Fridays. The defendant said he immediately called police afterward, and was heard in 911 tapes confessing to her murder. Nichols, who pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, confessed again to police during questioning.
A forensic psychologist, who examined Nichols after he was arrested, testified that the defendant had several medical problems that could have contributed to his shooting and killing his wife.
In response to questioning from defense attorney Bradley Lollar, Dr. Antoinette McGarrahan testified that Nichols suffered from Parkinson's Disease, alcohol dependence and a “mild to moderate” cognitive disability in the frontal lobe of his brain, a result of Parkinson's Disease. The cognitive issue could have caused the defendant to have problems with his memory and planning skills, she said.
“People like this usually act without thinking, and they have a hard time remembering information,” she said. Dr. McGarahan added that Nichols had no personality disorders.
But prosecutor Jason Parrish argued that even though Nichols had abused alcohol and nitrous oxide, which may have made his depression and Parkinson's worse, that “someone with these conditions can intentionally and knowingly murder someone.”
Lollar also called several of Nichols' friends to testify. All said Nichols was a “peaceful man who was trustworthy.” Pat Tompkins, who worked in Nichols' dental office for 20 years, said that all she knew about him was that he was a “perfect boss.”
Before closing statements, Lollar argued before Judge Kerry Russell to have a lesser charge of manslaughter included along with the murder charge. But Russell ruled against it, citing similar cases that had come before Texas appeals courts. The judge also said because Nichols shot his wife more than once, that the incident couldn't have been accidental.
In his closing statements to the jury, Parrish said Mrs. Nichols had the right to tell Nichols to get out of the house. After the shooting, Parrish described what she must have felt.
“She bled to death, slumped over on the couch. I can only imagine her last thoughts. She felt herself die,” Parrish said.
Lollar told jurors in his closing statement that Mrs. Nichols was the “alpha dog” in the relationship and she let her husband know it. “He couldn't do anything to please her. She resented him drinking with his friends, and she made fun of him,” Lollar said, adding that none of that justified what his client did.
Prosecutors cross examined Nichols on Wednesday as he sat on the witness stand. He said he only intended to scare his wife when he brought his 9-mm handgun inside on the night of June 29. “I was in a stupor and don't remember anything from that night. It was the gunshot that woke me up,” Nichols testified.
Earlier on Wednesday, Russell reprimanded prosecutors Parrish and Richard Vance in court because they did not immediately notify Nichols' defense attorney about his weekend arrest for alcohol purchase and possession.
Russell said he would be notifying the State Bar of Texas to investigate the conduct of Parrish and Vance.
The punishment phase of the trial begins today.