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A Closer Look at Robert Nicholes


 

Robert Nicholes, an employee at Lyles and co-conspirator with Ted Kimble and Patrick Pardee in a string of construction burglaries.  In exchange for testifying against both Kimble and Pardee, Nicholes was given a very generous plea agreement by the State.  Nicholes was arrested, but he was not put in jail, and didn't have to pay a bond.  If he had not subsequently violated his probation, he would have never spent a day in jail for them.  Nicholes was not a first-time offender.

 

Nicholes gave numerous statements to the police, each one adding more information about Ted.  He also made some off-the-record statements to friends.  Not surprisingly, these statements to friends totally contradict his statements to the police.  They also reveal the punitive result for backing out of a plea deal once you've signed on the dotted line.

 

Statements by Robert Nicholes

 

April 18, 1997:  In a conversation with James Ogburn at 12:00 Noon, Nicholes told this story:

Robert informed me that the Police was on him concerning Ted and the murder case.  Robert also says that, Ted told him some things that he shouldn't have, but nothing concerning the murder.  Robert says he was going to plea guilty to all larcenry charges.

April 18, 1997:  At 4:42 p.m., he was writing a 6-page handwritten, signed statement for the State.  Nicholes details how Ted involved him in the theft ring and threatened his life if he ever told anyone.  He also stated he asked Ted if he had anything to do with Patricia's murder, and Ted replied, "Yes, I did, and now are you happy." 

 

April 18, 1997:  That statement resulted in the Agreement, State of North Carolina v. Robert H. Nicholes, which offered Nicholes probation for testimony against Ted regarding the murder of Patricia Kimble.

 

May 16, 1997:  Nicholes wrote out another 8-page handwritten statement, signed, for the State.  In this statement he went into great detail what he was told by James Ogburn.  Substantial new information added. Ogburn told Nicholes that he saw Ted, Ronnie, and another white male on October 9 talking for a long time in the parking lot next to the gate.  Ogburn told Nicholes it looked like they were scheming something.  Nicholes also added details about Ted's father knowing the lumber was stolen, and the scheme to pay him for the lumber in order to have Lyles covered.  Nicholes further added that Ted threatened to kill Detective Church.  He concluded with information that Ted's father said he would provide Nicholes' attorney fees if he would contradict Patrick Pardee's statements, and that on April 18, 1997, he fired Nicholes when he found out he had made a statement to the police.

 

May 19, 1997:  Nicholes made this 4-page handwritten, signed statement because "there are some things I have thought of since I had my last interview."  Nicholes said he suggested to Ted that he go to the Sheriff's office and take a polygraph, and Ted showed him the polygraph he had already taken with his attorneys, which showed "he was lying about involvement in his wife's death."  He said Ted told him that when he was a child his Dad beat him and his mother.  He related how Ted encouraged him to get rid of a person with whom Nicholes had argued, and how to make a bomb to do it. Nicholes also said Ted would threaten him in various ways, like saying he and Patrick were going to execute Nicholes. 

 

May 29, 1997:  Nicholes made this short, 2-page handwritten, signed statement to report a call he received from Jeff Roberts, demanding payment of the $3,000 that he owed Lowe's, or Roberts would go to Ted's father and give him the information he wanted to discredit Nicholes.  Roberts demanded $450.00 by 5:00 p.m. May 30.  Nicholes also claimed that Ted's father and Wally Harrleson were speaking with people to get information to discredit Nicholes.

 

July 22, 1997:  Nicholes spoke with James Ogburn and Walter Cole.  Nicholes told the two men that he wasn't going to follow through with his deal with the District Attorney. Both Ogburn and Cole wrote out statements relating what Nicholes told them.

Ogburn's handwritten note

On July 22nd, I saw Robert Nicklous in the parking lot down fro Lyles Bld. Materials.  He stated to me that he wasn't going to testifie against ted, concerning the murder of his wife.  Rob, also asked me to inform Mr. Kimble of this matter too.  Robert says that he would be in contempt of court, for not testifying, and that he would deal with that.  His primary message was for me to inform Mr. K of his actions concerning this matter.

 

Cole's handwritten note

Leaving work, James and I ran into Rob and talked with him in the parking lot of the boat place.  He talked about how well he was doing with his new business and the new home he just purchased.  He also spoke on Ted and Ron in reference to how they were doing etc. and mentioned that he was not going to testify to that "bull-shit because it wasn't right.  He stated that he and his wife had talked about it and he had had a change of heart and realized it was wrong to do so.  She had the same feelings.  He stated that instead he would take the "contempt of court charge" and do the time at the county farm.  He told James that he was telling him this so that he could relay it to Mr. Kimble.

 

Robert Nicholes' Criminal Record

 

According to Nicholes, Ted is the one that got him in involved in the theft ring with him and Patrick Pardee, by intimidating him.  He then continued on with the thefts, even though he knew it was wrong, because he was afraid of Ted.  He said he and his wife would park their cars further from the house so Ted would think he wasn't home when he came by to pick him up to do more stealing.

 

However, Patrick Pardee tells a different story.  He said Nicholes started coming up with lumber that he said "he was buying them from a friend that worked for a construction company." (Pardee) Pardee says that he didn't get involved in the thefts until Ted and Nicholes had been going out together for some time.

 

Nicholes credibility is significantly diminished when one looks at his criminal record.  He doesn't have Ted Kimble to blame for the crimes he committed before he even met Ted.  And he can't argue that it was Ted's threats to his life that caused him to commit the crimes long after Ted Kimble was in jail. 

 

Robert Nicholes, born Oct 8, 1971, began his criminal career at the age of 18.  His first offenses were in January 1990, Santa Ana, California, for assault and battery.  He started his criminal activity in Guilford County, North Carolina, in November 1992, with misdemeanor breaking and entering.  That same month he was extradited to California as a fugitive.  Back in Guilford County in June 1993 he is accused of hit and run, reckless driving, failure to heed light/siren, and resisting officer.  In July of that same year he is charged again in Santa Ana, California, with possessing stolen goods.  In September he is back in Guilford County and fined for improper vehicle equipment. 

 

For the next several months he receives various tickets for speeding; no registration, insurance, or title; driving without a license; drivers license revoked; driving without a license.  In November 1995 he was charged with assault on a female, and in January 1996 for using harassing and threatening language over the phone.  More driving-related charges, and then a fine for embezzlement in June 1996 and a larceny conviction in August.  More driving without a license charges. 

 

All of this before he even met Ted Kimble. 

 

Then in December 1996 starts the long string of larcenies related to the construction thefts, with the last one being March 22, 1997.

 

Ted was arrested April 1, 1997.  Nicholes received 60 months probation for his part in the construction thefts in exchange for his testimony against Ted.

 

Did Nicholes change his life around after Ted's arrest, after he was no longer "intimidated" into committing crimes?  No, his criminal lifestyle continued.

 

1997:  April 27, worthless check (dismissed); April 30, worthless check (dismissed); May 9, miscellaneous breaking and entering, larceny (dismissed); May 14, larceny, harassment, threatening language (dismissed); August 9, embezzlement (dismissed).  Is it a coincidence that all of these charges are dismissed, given that he did not give any testimony for the State until August 17, 1998?

 

And the list goes on, 16 more entries on his NCDOC, including more larcenies, assaults on a female, and possessing stolen goods.

 

What is so incredible is how many of these charges are dismissed in North Carolina.  Nearly all of them.  When he is convicted, he gets probation, sometimes unsupervised probation.   Why does he have such favored criminal status? 

 

Under cross examination by Mr. Lloyd, Nicholes admitted that his 90-day sentence in California was the result of a reduction in the charge after a plea deal.  He also admitted his solicitation to commit embezzlement charge in Guilford County was reduced after a plea deal.  These plea deals were before he ever became involved with Ted Kimble.

 

Is it as Mr. Lloyd suggested on cross examination, that he is "well-versed in how to make deals with the State"?

 

 

Published August 15, 2006.  Report broken links or other problems.

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