Mass. man sentenced to life for 2009 double murder

Nigel Nichols. (Photo from Providence Police)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Massachusetts man was sentenced to life Tuesday for his role in the 2009 murders of two men in Providence.

According to Attorney General Peter Kilmartin’s office, Nigel Nichols, 29, of Brockton, Mass., was given four consecutive life sentences plus 40 years.

He was found guilty in February for the December 6, 2009 shooting on Dorrance Street that killed David Thomas, 22, and Domingo Ortiz, 21.

Dwayne Thomas, age 18 at the time, was seriously injured.

“This was truly one of the more horrific crimes that has ever come before this court.  It [is] certainly one of the most horrific that I’ve handled in my career,” said Roger Demers, Special Assistant Attorney General.

Prosecutors asked for the maximum penalty — saying Nichols randomly shot at a the car containing the three victims around 2:30 a.m. while they were stopped at a traffic light. Officials said the victims were returning home to Boston when Nichols opened fire.

“A couple of young men sitting in a car in traffic on their way home from a nightclub happen to look at this defendant the wrong way and he was having a bad night and he decided to execute them just for that,” Demers said.

The case was unsolved until 2011, when a friend of Nichols and an eyewitness to the crime testified against him.

Prosecutors said Nichols shot the victims because he has been teased earlier by friends — for not being tough enough.

According to Kilmartin’s office, Nichols was convicted on two counts of murder, two counts of discharging a firearm resulting in death, one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, and one count of discharging a firearm resulting in injury.

“Just mere steps from the Garrahy courthouse, a place where justice is meted out each day, Nigel Nichols brazenly and without provocation executed two young men, one on leave from the United States Army, and injured another, showing no concern for the consequences and no remorse for the unbridled violence he exacted that day,” said Kilmartin.  “It was a crime so unimaginable and so violent that the defendant deserves the maximum penalty allowed under the law.”

Nichols’ lawyer, Judy Crowell painted a much different picture about the defendant — saying he was a dental hygienist and a loving dad.

“He has a supportive mother who is in the courtroom today who was was here throughout the trial, a supportive sister, a wife, and three children,” she told the court.

Crowell said he will be eligible for parole in 70 years — she said the sentence is equivalent to life without parole.

Nichols’ attorney said they have already filed for an appeal.

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