PROVO — A Spanish Fork man has admitted to murdering his wife nearly two years ago, part of a deal with prosecutors that could significantly limit how much time he spends in prison.
Curtis Ray Nichols, 37, pleaded guilty Monday to murder in the strangling death of his wife, Robin Nichols, court records show. Prosecutors dropped the charge from a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison, to a second-degree felony. A conviction carries a maximum of 15 years in the Utah State Prison.
Nichols admitted to a new charge filed Monday of obstructing justice, also a second-degree felony, court records show. He pleaded guilty as originally charged to three more counts of domestic abuse in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony. The couple had three children, police said.
Officers found Robin Nichols, 35, unconscious and not breathing on the floor of her kitchen on Aug. 24, 2017, about 11 p.m., according to Spanish Fork police. They found she had neck injuries but no other signs of trauma on her body, according to charging documents. Crews attempted to revive her before rushing her to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
An autopsy found she was strangled, the charges say.
Her husband told police he found her body and called 911 after returning from a trip to Walmart and McDonald's, according to the court documents. When investigators asked him about scratch marks on his head, he told them he banged his head on a cabinet or drawer as he gave his wife CPR.
The officers observed other scratch marks on his face arms. Forensic analysis later revealed male cells under Robin Nichols' fingernails on her right hand that matched her husband's DNA, the charges state.
Sentencing is Aug. 5.