The Crime Scene for Feb. 18

Nichols refuses to plea in rape case

In a bizarre court appearance, a disheveled-looking Ernest Nichols, the gym teacher accused of having sex with a teenager, repeatedly made odd statements, which nearly landed him a contempt citation, and refused to enter a plea on the charges.

The hearing was meant to see if a plea agreement had been reached in the case against the 45-year-old Huntersville resident, who had worked at several Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools.

From the beginning of the hearing, Nichols appeared agitated; he was fidgeting, talking loudly and interrupting the proceedings.

When asked for his plea, Nichols gave an enigmatic reply.

“I do not understand the charges against me,” he said. “I am a living, breathing human being. I am not a corporate fiction.”

He refused to allow his attorney to enter a plea on his behalf, forcing the judge to enter a not guilty plea.

The hearing follows another plea offered in early December in which Nichols would have received up to 15 years in prison for having sex with his son’s 15-year-old girlfriend.

A judge rejected that plea because the proposed jail sentence was not enough.

Nichols allegedly filmed himself having sex with the girl numerous times in a six-month period beginning in late 2008 and continuing through spring 2009. Nichols worked as a physical education teacher at Ranson Middle since 2004 and joined the school system in 1991.

The girl did not attend Ranson, and all of the alleged incidents occurred at Nichols’ family home, 12501 Willow Grove Way, Huntersville.

Police reports

A roundup of incidents from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s North and Freedom divisions:

Break-ins
• 8912 Belle Bragg Way. Window broken, causing $100 damage. Nothing stolen. Feb. 14.
• 2108 Sebastiani Drive. $800 computer stolen. Door broken, causing $200 in damage. Feb. 14.
• 4731 Keeneland Lane. $750 television stolen. Feb. 15.
• 7843 Euler Way. $450 television stolen. Feb. 15.
• 4806 Woodstone Drive. Home broken into. Nothing stolen. Feb. 14.
• 4537 Canipe Drive. $15,000 recreational vehicle stolen. Feb. 14.
• 5808 Thompson Road. Power drills, speakers and amplifiers, worth $1,230 total, stolen. Feb. 14.
• 7939 Ebony Road. Window smashed, causing $300 in damage. Nothing stolen. Feb. 14.
• 5614 Stone Bluff Court. Jewelry, video game system, computer and clothes, worth $1,525 total, stolen. Feb. 15.
• 940 Rowan St. Green card, Social Security cards and $5,000 in cash stolen. Feb. 15.
• 1923 Darbywine Drive. Two televisions, three DVD players, jewelry, two handguns and clothing, worth $4,905 total, stolen. Feb. 15.
• 5245 Garden Trace Court. Television and computer, worth $1,630 total, stolen. Feb. 15.
• 804 Lightspun Road. Front door broken, causing $400 in damage. Nothing stolen. Feb. 16.

Vehicle thefts
• 1423 Niagara Circle. 2006 Nissan Xterra, worth $8,000, stolen. Vehicle was recovered. Feb. 14.
• 5028 Shadow Pine Drive. Suzuki motorcycle, worth $12,467, stolen. Feb. 15.

Thefts
• 1146 Stonehenge Lane. Gold chain stolen. Feb. 14.
• 5501 Josh Birmingham Pkwy. $500 cell phone stolen. Feb. 14.
• 5501 Josh Birmingham Pkwy. Two headsets, worth $1,000, stolen from airplane. Feb. 14.
• 5381 Eneida Sue Drive. Cell phone and bus pass, worth $155 total, stolen. Feb. 15.
• 5531 Linda Vista. $189 handgun stolen. Feb. 16.


Car break-ins

• 4219 Waterford Valley Circle. $900 diagnostic computer for 1995 Honda Civic stolen. Feb. 15.
• 2023 John Crosland Drive. Computers, camera and iPod, worth $4,600 total, stolen. Feb. 15.
• 3700 Sam Wilson Road. Two car stereos, GPS and power tools, worth $20,000 total, stolen from multiple vehicles. Feb. 16.
• 10209 Mount Holly Road. Clothing, worth $50, stolen. Feb. 12.

Fraud
• 9820 Callabridge Court. Suspect used five counterfeit $100 bills to buy a computer and video game, worth $408 total, at Walmart. Feb. 11.
• 730 Pine Forest Road. Woman’s name and Social Security number used to open a Premier Bank credit card. Feb. 15.
• 228 Wesley Heights Way. Suspect tried to buy merchandise with counterfeit $20 bill. Feb. 15.

Vandalism
• 11236 Northwoods Forest Drive. Mailbox knocked down and broken into pieces. Damage estimated at $75. Feb. 14.
• 2541 Little Rock Road. Lock punched on Ford F-150 during attempted break-in. Damage estimated at $200. Feb. 12.
• 212 Cottonwood Park Drive. Vinyl siding and window broken on home. Damage estimated at $500. Feb. 15.

Drugs
• 8500 Rockwood Road. Marijuana seized. Feb. 10.
• 5521 Hovis Road. Marijuana seized. Feb. 13.
• 7200 Harris Blvd. Marijuana seized. Feb. 10.

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