Man refused bail in death of daughter 2-year-old was shot in head Friday night

July 30, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A man charged with killing his 2-year-old daughter Friday night was ordered held without bail yesterday as newly released court documents for the first time reveal a possible motive: money.

Richard A. Nicolas, 31, of the 500 block of Orkney Road in Govans, took out a $15,000 insurance policy on the toddler in March, naming himself as the sole beneficiary, police and court records show.

Nicolas was charged early Sunday with first-degree murder and a felony handgun violation in the death of Aja Nicolas, who was shot in the left side of the face as she sat in her father's car at a Northeast Baltimore industrial park.

Police were back at the slaying scene yesterday, scouring Moravia Industrial Park off Bowleys Lane, looking for the weapon. On Sunday, a police spokesman said it "would be hard for me to think of a crime as evil as this."

In the court documents filed yesterday, police said the father's story quickly fell apart.

Nicolas told officers that a man driving a dark car rammed his blue Chevrolet Cavalier several times, then got out and shot his daughter through the right passenger window.

The father ran to a convenience store, where a clerk called police. Nicolas was questioned Friday night and Saturday before he was charged. Police said his car showed no damage and the girl was shot at close range on the left side of the head, not the right.

Nicolas' statement "totally contradicts the physical evidence," court documents said. The documents said Nicolas "is an avid firearms collector" but police found only a 9 mm Glock in a search of his house. "A check with Maryland State Police records reveals Nicolas has numerous weapons of various calibers registered in his name," the documents said.

Police said they also recovered ammunition and the insurance policy at Nicolas' home. Detective Don Gordon of the homicide unit said the 9 mm found there was not used in the shooting.

Gordon said a dispute over child-support payments and the insurance policy are the only possible motives that investigators have uncovered. "[Nicolas] isn't talking," Gordon said.

Court documents said the child's mother, Lisa Esbrand, told police that she and Nicolas "have been in numerous arguments in reference to Mr. Nicolas having to pay child-support payments. Mr. Nicolas has complained on numerous occasions how the child-support payments are leaving him without any money."

Pub Date: 7/30/96

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