Details released on strangulation murder of Spanish Fork woman, husband’s arrest

Curtis Ray Nichols. Photo: Utah County Jail

SPANISH FORK, Utah, Aug. 29, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A probable cause statement has revealed more details in the death of a Spanish Fork woman and the arrest of her husband for her strangulation death.

Information obtained from the Spanish Fork Police Department through a GRAMA request provides an account of what officers observed before they booked Curtis Ray Nichols, 35, in the death wife Robin Nichols, also 35.

Officers responded at about 10:56 p.m. on Thursday 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.

According to the probable cause statement, officers found no sign of forced entry to the home, and believed it would be hard for Curtis not to see his wife’s body immediately on his return due to the layout of the residence.

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.

Curtis Nichols was booked into the Utah County Jail the day after his wife’s death on charges of first-degree murder and three counts of domestic abuse in the presence of a child. He is being held on $100,000 cash-only bail.

“At this point, officers believe that there is probable cause to believe that Curtis Nichols caused the death of Robin Nichols,” the statement concluded.


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