Utah County man accused in wife’s strangulation death back in jail

Curtis Ray Nichols. Photo: Utah County Jail

SPANISH FORK, Utah, Sept. 26, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A Spanish Fork man charged in the strangling death of his wife is back in the Utah County Jail after a judge increased his bail tenfold.

Curtis Nichols, 35, was out on $100,000 bail until Monday, when the judge in his case increased bail to $1 million, cash only. Nichols is charged with murder and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child in the Aug. 24 death of wife Robin Curtis, also 35.

Officers responded at about 10:56 p.m. that day to a residence at 952 E. 1050 South, after Curtis Nichols called dispatch to report that he had returned home to find his wife unconscious and not breathing.

Officers found Robin Nichols on the kitchen floor. They began CPR, and transported her to Utah Valley Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Doctors who examined Robin Nichols found four indentations on her neck, and hemorrhaged blood vessels in her eyes, a condition consistent with strangulation. An autopsy the next day confirmed strangulation as her cause of death, according to a probable cause statement in the case.

Curtis Nichols had told officers that on the night of his wife’s death, he returned from a trip to Walmart and McDonalds at 10:40 p.m., checked on the couple’s children, ages 2, 5 and 7, then looked for his wife, finding her on the kitchen floor.

Officers said the time stamp on the Walmart and McDonalds receipts did not match the timeline Nichols gave, indicating his purchases were earlier. In addition, surveillance footage from Walmart showed that Nichols had changed clothes between his shopping trip and the arrival of police.

Also upon their arrival at the crime scene, officers noticed Curtis Nichols had a hat pulled low on his forehead, and had visible fresh cuts and scratches on his forehead and nose. Nichols said he had hit his head on a drawer or cabinet door, which officers said did not explain the number and placement of the scratches. The lacerations and scratches looked more like defensive wounds, according to the probable cause statement.

A search warrant allowed officers to photograph Curtis Nichols’ body, which revealed upper arm scratches that looked as if someone had dug fingernails into the flesh.

Clippings were taken from Robin Curtis’ fingernails for a DNA comparison. A test later determined that skin cells found under the victim’s fingernails were from her husband.

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