Father, 31, convicted in slaying of girl, 2 He insured her life shortly before crime

June 26, 1997|By Richard Irwin and Brenda J. Buote | Richard Irwin and Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

A jury in Baltimore Circuit Court found an emergency medical technician guilty yesterday of fatally shooting his 2-year-old daughter last summer, shortly after he took out a $15,000 insurance policy on her life.

Richard Allen Nicolas, 31, of the 500 block of Orkney Road in Govans was found guilty of first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony in the death of Aja Nicolas.

The girl was shot through the head on a deserted road in the Moravia Industrial Park on July 26.

Judge Mabel H. Hubbard scheduled sentencing for Aug. 6. The prosecutor's office recommended a sentence of life without parole.

During Nicolas' two-week trial, his attorney, M. Cristina Gutierrez, tried to convince jurors that a passing motorist shot into Nicolas' car and killed Aja as Nicolas was returning the child to her mother after a night at the movies.

Ballistic tests showed that the fatal shot was fired at close range and from inside the car, said Deputy State's Attorney Sharon A. H. May. Nicolas also had firearm residue on at least one hand, she said.

Homicide Detective Darryl Massey said that in addition to technical evidence against Nicolas, statements the man made to police after the shooting were proved false.

"Once he made the false statements, he found it impossible to back up and correct what he previously told us," Massey said in an interview after the trial.

Nicolas made himself the sole beneficiary of the insurance policy on the girl's life, May said.

The jury began deliberating at 1 p.m. and returned at 2: 55 p.m. with the verdicts, after which Nicolas was returned to the city's Detention Center.

Neither Gutierrez nor Howard Cardin, Nicolas' primary attorneys, were present when the verdicts were announced. Only Nicolas' original attorney, Art Cheslock, was with the defendant, Massey said.

Pub Date: 6/26/97

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