Neutral: From Attempted Murder Suspect To Victim - Pomona, CA

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Thread: Neutral: From Attempted Murder Suspect To Victim - Pomona, CA

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array CT-Mike's Avatar
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    Neutral: From Attempted Murder Suspect To Victim - Pomona, CA

    First suspect, then victim: shooting said self-defense -

    POMONA - In a span of two days, Brett Nichols went from being accused of attempted murder to becoming the victim in the same incident.

    The 48-year-old Phillips Ranch resident was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of attempted murder. Police said he had shot a man and dumped the body in the hills near his home.

    But Nichols was released from jail Wednesday afternoon after police determined he was acting in self-defense when he shot David Rotela, a 22-year-old Rosemead resident who survived the ordeal, authorities said.

    "It was a dumb move for me to do that, to dump his body, but I didn't know what to do," said Nichols outside his Edgebrook Drive home.

    Sgt. Robert Baker said "The (Los Angeles County district attorney) declined to prosecute for that incident."

    "Nichols is no longer a suspect," Baker said.

    According to Nichols, the shooting evolved from a home invasion robbery about 1:30 a.m. Monday.

    Five people live in the house owned by Nichols, who said he was waiting for his girlfriend to come home when he heard a commotion in a bedroom.

    He armed himself with a gun, "just in case something got out of hand," and went to find the source of the noise, Nichols said.

    Nichols said he discovered a man holding a shotgun and wearing a ski mask who ordered him and three other residents to lie under a mattress.

    Rotela and a second man took cell phones, cameras and car keys from the residents, authorities said.

    As the men left the room, Nichols followed them. When Rotela got to the front door, he swung around and pointed his shotgun at Nichols.

    Nichols fired at Rotela who then fell back onto the front walkway while the second man escaped with the stolen goods, authorities said.

    Nichols, with a felony drug conviction from the 1990s and no license for the gun, said, "I thought, `A felon with a gun, this isn't good."'

    He said he took Rotela and drove him to the hills adjacent to his home and left him there.

    "He was paralyzed - he knew it. He said he didn't want to live like that, so I took him out and laid him under the stars like he wanted," Nichols said.

    Afterward, Nichols said, he went to 7-Eleven to get a drink and cleaned his truck and the walkway of his house. He also cut out the blood stains from the carpet, leaving square holes, he said.

    Police came to the house six hours later to talk to Nichols about a report of shots fired, and he led them to Rotela, who was still alive. Rotela was flown to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition.

    Baker said the the investigation is still ongoing, but Rotela could face charges.

    Nichols said he had never had contact with Rotela before and did not intend to shoot him.

    "I was protecting my home," he said. "If he hadn't turned on me, I probably wouldn't have shot him."
    I can imagine that Nichols may be facing illegal weapons charges, but at least he isn't facing any charges related to the shooting, tampering with evidence, etc.
    Last edited by CT-Mike; August 9th, 2008 at 10:37 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Array Bark'n's Avatar
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    Wow... Very strange case.

    I have to say while Nichols had a justifiable shooting, I can see some prison time over this.

    Taking and dumping the body and leaving him to die and then destroying evidence and not calling the cops, just because he was worried about how being a felon could get him in trouble makes a good case for "depraved indifference!"

    Had he have just "manned up" and called the cops immediately, if I were the prosecutor, I would probably let him walk on everything... But his actions after the shooting, as far as I'm concerned demands some sort of action on behalf of the state.

    He might end up taking a big hit in a civil trial as well.

    Just my initial reaction to reading this on first blush.
    I may have a different view after digesting it further and hearing others peoples point of view.

    Very strange twist on what should have been a clean shoot!

    Just goes to show how you can really muddy the waters with your actions after the fact!

    I've pointed out in other posts on several occasions that there are a lot of decent people doing hard time in prison over what should have been a clean shoot, but their actions after the fact made a mess of things and changed the whole outcome. This may turn out to be one of those cases when all is said and done.

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out!
    Semper Fi

    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

  3. #3
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    Normal people just don't act in this manner...something's fishy.

    When involved in a SD incident...move nothing, say nothing without legal assistance...period!
    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

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  4. #4
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    Shot someone in "self defense," but then drove the aggressor to a place of his choosing so he could wait out his hours under the stars, then cut out the carpet stains (evidence) ... prior to calling police about the attack? I can see why they held him. At minimum, he was altering evidence and making a mess of things.

    I agree: normal folks don't act in this fashion. Something else is there, which isn't being reported or isn't known at this point.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: Why the Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).

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