Jury sets life sentence for Jeffrey Nichols in 2013 Moberly murder

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HUNTSVILLE - Jurors sentenced Jeffrey Nichols to life in prison without probation or parole in the 2013 murder of 92-year-old Carmelita Kaser. He could have gotten the death penalty.

Over the past three days, Nichols' defense team has been presenting a slew of witnesses to testify on Nichols' behalf.

Jurors heard Wednesday from a child psychologist, two correctional officers, a case manager and Nichols' adopted mother.

She said, before she adopted Nichols, she knew he came from a difficult past. 

"I so much wanted God's love to flow through me to him. I saw his scares," She said.

The mother also told the court Nichols was an extremely aggressive child.

"One time my husband had to preach with a black eye," she said.

The school psychologist said she evaluated Nichols when he was nine years old.

"Jeff was deemed to be emotionally disturbed," she said.

She said Nichols told her his biological mother would hit and slap and throw items at him.

A psychiatrist, psychologist and brain injury expert testified during the sentencing phase, saying Nichols' background played a significant role in his behavior.

The jury also heard from correctional officers and a case manager who said they had no problems with Nichols as an inmate. They met him when he was at the Southeast Correctional Center. Nichols was staying in an honor dorm dedicated to inmates who had no violations for at least two years.

After the decision was made, Kaser's granddaughter, Emily Doolin, spoke on her feelings. 

"Now it's time for Nichols to accept the full rate of the choices and decisions he made on Easter of 2013," Doolin said. "There is no joy in this victory but there is the feeling that justice was finally served, even if it wasn't as swift or severe as we had hoped."

Randolph County Special Prosecutor Mike Fusselman said he accepts the jury's decision and said he gave the Kaser family all he had. 

The judge set a sentencing date for October 4th at 2:30 p.m.