Update: Suspect in grisly Moberly murder found guilty

4 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago Thursday, June 21 2018 Jun 21, 2018 Thursday, June 21, 2018 4:01:00 PM CDT June 21, 2018 in News
By: Evan Dodson and Hannah Thomas, KOMU 8 Reporters
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HUNTSVILLE – A man accused of killing a Moberly woman five years ago was found guilty of murder in the first degree just after 11 p.m. Thursday.

The jury deliberated the case of Jeffrey Nichols for 8 hours in the Randolph County Courthouse.

Nichols was charged with 18 out of 19 counts for crimes that took place before Carmelita Kaser was killed. He was acquitted on one count of robbery in the first degree.

His case will proceed to the penalty phase where the jury will decide if the death penalty should be served.

Court will resume Friday morning at 10 a.m.

He was accused of being part of a duo who killed 92-year-old Kaser. She was found dead in her home on March 31, 2013 - Easter night. She had been stabbed with a machete and hit with the butt of a gun.

Nichols was charged with first-degree murder and 18 other counts ranging from tampering to robbery for crimes that took place before Kaser was killed.

Another man, Christopher Lewis, pleaded guilty to the murder in 2016 and was sentenced to life without probation or parole.

Prosecuting attorney Kevin Zoellner told jurors Thursday Nichols was in charge.

“Someone had to be the Batman, the leader in all of this, and it was Nichols,” he said.

However, Nichols’ attorney said there isn’t enough evidence to prove Nichols was the one who murdered Kaser.

Evidence showed Nichols had blood on his sleeves the night the murder occurred.

KOMU 8 News also talked to one of Kaser's neighbors, John Nichols. He remembered Kaser as "a ray of light in this part of the world."

He also shared his hope for the defendants, Lewis and Nichols.

"Either way I hope they both reflect in what they've done, change their lives turn them around, they have a chance do that, you know."

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