Grand jury indicts man in slaying of daughter, 2 Girl was shot in face while in father's car

August 27, 1996|By Joe Mathews | Joe Mathews,SUN STAFF

Richard Allen Nicolas was indicted by a city grand jury yesterday on a charge of first-degree murder in the July 26 shooting of his daughter, Aja Nicolas, 2.

That night, Nicolas, an emergency medical technician for a private ambulance company, took his daughter to see an 8 o'clock movie at Golden Ring Mall.

Police say Aja was shot to death as she sat in the front seat of Nicolas' car at 10 p.m. on Bowleys Lane, a small road at the edge of Moravia Industrial Park in East Baltimore.

Nicolas, 31, told police that his daughter was shot by a motorist, but detectives say that explanation contradicts physical evidence pointing to a gunshot from the driver's side at close range.

But authorities have yet to find a weapon, and Nicolas' friends have come forward to say he is a Good Samaritan with a passion for saving lives.

"This is an unusual case," Howard Cardin, an attorney for Nicolas, said yesterday in court.

Cardin said he believed Aja could have been struck in the left side of the face if she had turned to face the motorist. He added: "I have found nothing that would lead me to believe" that Nicolas "was capable of doing this."

Cardin and another attorney for Nicolas appeared in court at 9: 30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing, which was delayed and ultimately canceled after the state's attorney's office presented its case to the grand jury at 11 a.m.

Cardin complained in court that prosecutors had blocked access to expert reports and other evidence, including Nicolas' blue 1990 Chevrolet Cavalier. "Our concern is that any delay may result in loss of evidence," he said.

Prosecutors have declined to discuss the case.

Nicolas is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center. He also faces a weapons charge. An arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Pub Date: 8/27/96

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