Man gets prison for bur­glar­iz­ing home of el­derly man

John Paul Ni­chols Jr. is sen­tenced to 32 years in prison, to serve 14, for steal­ing around $180,000 in items from the home of an el­derly man in Oc­to­ber 2016.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Spencer Lahr Staff Writer SLahr@RN-T.com

A Cave Spring man who stole an es­ti­mated $180,000 in jew­elry, heir­loom col­lectibles and tools from an el­derly fam­ily mem­ber on Oct. 26, 2016, was sen­tenced Mon­day to 32 years in prison, to serve 14.

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion pre­sented in court:

Floyd County Su­pe­rior Court Judge Billy Sparks handed down the sen­tence to 39-year-old John Paul Ni­chols Jr. af­ter he was found guilty on charges of first-de­gree bur­glary, ex­ploita­tion of an el­derly per­son, theft by tak­ing and two counts of theft by de­cep­tion.

As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Kevin Salmon read a state­ment from the 90-year-old vic­tim, who was in the hos­pi­tal af­ter suf­fer­ing a stroke, that called for a max­i­mum sen­tence and in­di­cated a lack of re­morse shown by Ni­chols.

“We don’t feel safe in our own home,” the state­ment read, point­ing to the im­pact left from the bur­glary, which re­sulted in the loss of ir­re­place­able items, on him and his wife. “John Paul Ni­chols Jr. needs to sit in that jail cell for a very long time.”

Ni­chols ad­dressed the court with a trem­bling voice and apol­o­gized to his fam­ily and two 13-year-old daugh­ters. His wife of 17 years said de­spite his re­cent ac­tions Ni­chols is a good per­son and has shown re­morse.

“I think re­morse and the def­i­ni­tion of re­morse has been con­fused with re­gret,” said Salmon. “Mr. Ni­chols should be ashamed.”

Ni­chols’ wife pleaded with Sparks to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the mile­stones that Ni­chols will miss in his daugh­ters’ lives.

“No 13-year-old should see their fa­ther go to prison,” Sparks said.

How­ever, the judge added that though it doesn’t make him feel good, he couldn’t take con­sider that in his sen­tenc­ing.

As­sis­tant Floyd County Pub­lic De­fender Jonathan Speiser said the bur­glary was the first ma­jor charge of Ni­chols’ life — he was pre­vi­ously charged with mis­de­meanor shoplift­ing.

“He’s made it a long way with­out any charges,” Speiser said.

Speiser also pointed to Ni­chols strug­gle with ad­dic­tion and his need for help with the mat­ter.

“This is not a steal­ing for a habit type of thing,” said Sparks, adding this in­ci­dent is some­thing in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent cat­e­gory.

Upon his re­lease from prison, he will have to pay full resti­tu­tion, which Sparks said Ni­chols will never be able to fully pay back the value of what he took along with in­ter­est, even if he was on pro­ba­tion for life.

Drug and al­co­hol coun­sel­ing was im­posed on Ni­chols upon his re­lease.

John Paul Ni­chols Jr.

Billy Sparks

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