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Archive for Monday, February 28, 2011

Lawrence man who attacked woman on bicycle path gets 14 years in prison

February 28, 2011

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William Nichols, right, speaks with his attorney Michael Clarke after his sentencing Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Nichols was sentenced to 14 years in prison for attacking a young woman on a bicycle path between the Youth Sports Complex and Clinton Lake.

William Nichols, right, speaks with his attorney Michael Clarke after his sentencing Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Nichols was sentenced to 14 years in prison for attacking a young woman on a bicycle path between the Youth Sports Complex and Clinton Lake.

Nathaniel Mehl talked with reporters after William Nichols was sentenced to 14 years in prison Monday, Feb. 28, 2011, for the attack on a young woman last summer on a path between the Youth Sports Complex and Clinton Lake. Mehl and his friend interrupted the attack and were about to stop Nichols before he fled.

Nathaniel Mehl talked with reporters after William Nichols was sentenced to 14 years in prison Monday, Feb. 28, 2011, for the attack on a young woman last summer on a path between the Youth Sports Complex and Clinton Lake. Mehl and his friend interrupted the attack and were about to stop Nichols before he fled.

A Douglas County judge on Monday sentenced a 31-year-old Lawrence man to serve nearly 14 years in prison for a June 2010 attack on a woman on a southwest Lawrence bicycle path.

Before handing down the sentence, District Judge Peggy Kittel told William E. Nichols that he committed an unprovoked attack in the middle of the afternoon in a public area.

Nichols had pleaded guilty in January to aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery and aggravated sexual battery in connection with a June 16 incident when a 23-year-old woman was attacked and stabbed on a bike path between the Youth Sports Complex and Clinton Lake.

“We believe that the aggravated (sentence) in this case is warranted and justified under the conduct by Mr. Nichols,” District Attorney Charles Branson said.

Kittel followed a plea agreement between two parties to order Nichols to serve the harshest sentence he could for the aggravated kidnapping count. She ordered Nichols to concurrently serve lesser sentences for the other two charges. He must register as a sex offender for life.

The woman, who no longer lives in the country, spoke in court and said the event affected her in several ways.

She still experiences physical pain in the facial area, and she’s become scared when she comes upon strangers walking down the street.

“I do not trust anybody who I do not know anymore,” the woman said.

She also thanked two 19-year-old Lawrence men, Aidan Waugh and Nathaniel Mehl, who assisted her and chased away her attacker. Police later arrested Nichols in the area that day.

The woman said she didn’t want to take revenge on Nichols.

“I feel sorry for him, and I hope one day I will be able to pray for him,” she said.

Nichols apologized to the victim.

“You didn’t do anything wrong or do anything that caused me to attack you,” he said. “You were just unlucky and at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He said he “didn’t understand himself” at the time of the attack and was experiencing many financial and family hardships. Nichols said he didn’t have health insurance and that he tried to seek mental health treatment in Topeka and Lawrence before the incident but was unable to pay for it.

Defense attorney Michael Clarke didn’t ask Kittel to depart from the plea agreement in the case, but he instead made comments in court about the danger of state budget cuts to mental health services.

“I think that should weigh heavily not only on what this court does, but what this community does as well,” he said.

Kittel said the victim in the case still suffered from the effects “of this brutal attack.”

“Unfortunately our prisons are full of people who have mental health issues, and also unfortunately that doesn’t change the effect that this crime had on the victim,” she said.

Mehl and Waugh, who were honored by the city last year for their actions, sat in the audience during the hearing. Mehl said he thought the sentence should have been harsher, but he was still pleased Nichols was given prison time.

He also said he was glad the victim was able to speak in court.

“I thought it was a pretty courageous thing she did,” Mehl said.

Comments

Clark Coan 3 years, 1 month ago

It used to be that an offender could get out on good behavior after serving 1/3 of the sentence. Not sure if the legislature changed that. If not, he could get out in 4-5 years.

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somedude20 3 years, 1 month ago

I love bacon!!! Just thought you should know

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ajedigecko 3 years, 1 month ago

i have finally reached a point.....

i do not believe a "thing" needs to kill another human, in order to receive the death penalty.

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

Since the Topeka State Hospital was shut down by Gov. Graves over ten years ago to save taxpayers money, and in most other states for the same reason, I wonder if a study has ever been done to determine if money was actually saved or if that move has cost us more. Consider the increased number of homeless since those hospitals closed down and the need for more and larger prisons to hold the mentally ill. I have a sneaking suspicion that move cost the taxpayers more money in the long run.

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rodentgirl16 3 years, 1 month ago

My husband went to school with this guy and he was messed up years ago. It's a shame that he wasn't able to get help before this poor woman had her life shattered.

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Pitt_Mackeson 3 years, 1 month ago

What a creep. I'm glad my buddies Nathaniel and Aidan were around to rescue this lady. I'd hate to think what would've happened had they not come upon the scene.

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evilpenguin 3 years, 1 month ago

i love the look on the guys face in the picture. I can just imagine "Durp? Guilty? Durp?" when I look at it

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Marcus DeMond 3 years, 1 month ago

In fifteen years he will be out of prison. Without any rehabilitation he will probably come out worse than he went in. I do believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Maybe a little therapy during his time in jail will cost us much less than investigating and prosecuting a more serious crime in 2027.

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yankeevet 3 years, 1 month ago

So he will be taken care of for 14 years; cot; and 3 meals a day........oh yay; a tv also....

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Kris_H 3 years, 1 month ago

"An institution like Menniger?" The Menninger Clinic isn't exactly what you might call an "institution." I'm not sure how they're doing since they left Kansas to partner with Baylor University down in Texas, but when they were here, you weren't going to get in there if you didn't have money and/or insurance. You would have gone to Topeka State Hospital, and oops, that isn't there any more.

There are a couple of places where you might find some short-term treatment, but without money or insurance it's not going to be very long if at all. People with serious, disabling mental illness quickly run out of friends, family, options and luck. Even so, though, most of them don't go attack some random stranger with a knife and try to do the things this guy tried to do. That's criminal, not mental, and should be dealt with as such.

The cutters haven't gotten around to taking away Larned State Security Hospital yet, and maybe that's where this guy will end up. I hope his life turns out better than I fear it will.

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kernal 3 years, 1 month ago

The figures are probably out of date by now, but several years ago studies showed approximately 20% of prison inmates are mentally ill and only about 60% of them received any mental health care while in prison. That's for the state run prisons. I would think the privately owned and federal prisons would be the same situation and the numbers are probably higher than studies done four to 5 years ago, only because they had increased at that time.

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ophiuchus 3 years, 1 month ago

“I do not trust anybody who I do not know anymore,” the woman said.

Been there, doin' that.

/ I don't even trust the people I do know.

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countrygal07 3 years, 1 month ago

On one of my visits to Lawrence several months ago I was at the ATM withdrawing money and this man approached me asking me for money and a cigarette. He scared me as I have never had anyone approach me at a ATM. He said he was living at the lake and hadnt had any food for several days. I went across the street and asked the gas station attendant to call the police.

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Bursting 3 years, 1 month ago

Here goes everyone on the good old mental health card... I'm playing the violent rapist card on this man, good riddence, I hope he's never back in Lawrence!

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jstthefacts 3 years, 1 month ago

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autie 3 years, 1 month ago

they should tack on about 20 more for just being stupid..plus cut off his ying yang.

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macon47 3 years, 1 month ago

the jerk would have served less time if he killed someone with a car driving drunk

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g_rock 3 years, 1 month ago

I wish that this made me feel better....but not so much. yikes.

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Clark Coan 3 years, 1 month ago

He'll get out in 4-5 years on good behavior. Hopefully, he'll get treatment for his mental illness and not re-offend.

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