Prosecutors dropped an aggravated assault with a firearm charge Monday against a Greenwell Springs woman who wounded a Livingston Parish man in 2012 after he showed up bloodied outside her home in the wee hours of the morning.
Sheila A. Nichols, 60, has always maintained she was defending herself and her property. She was scheduled to stand trial this week in the 19th Judicial District Courthouse.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Nichols and the man she shot, John Butler Reeves III, agreed to a resolution that called for the dismissal of the charge against her, while she would pay some of his medical expenses.
Nichols’ attorney, Tommy Damico, said the resolution reached Monday will put an end to Reeves’ lawsuit against her. The suit accused Nichols of being careless, as well as using excessive and unreasonable force.
While Nichols has countered that Reeves was intoxicated and did not respond to her warnings to leave, Reeves said he was not drunk.
Moore called the case against Nichols unique.
“Although we believed that Ms. Nichols’ actions satisfied the elements of the statute, there were some mitigating circumstances that warranted resolution of the case short of a trial and possible conviction,” he said.
Moore said it appeared that neither party knew the other’s intentions on Nov. 24, 2012.
Damico contends Nichols never should have been indicted by a grand jury in 2013 on an aggravated second-degree battery charge or charged by prosecutors in December on the reduced charge that was dropped Monday.
“It never should have been a criminal case,” he insisted. “We would have never agreed to plead to anything. She always maintained she did not commit any criminal act.”
Damico has said in the past that Nichols thought her home was being burglarized by Reeves and his allegedly intoxicated companion.
They offered different versions of events in lawsuit documents.
Reeves, according to his suit, was a passenger in a car involved in a single-car accident about 3 a.m. near Nichols’ Magnolia Bridge Road home. Reeves alleged he walked unarmed onto Nichols’ lit front porch to seek help for his injuries, then stepped off the porch to talk on his cellphone when Nichols came outside and followed him into the front yard with her gun pointed at him.
Reeves said Nichols fired several shots, hitting him in the right forearm.
Nichols’ written court-filed response to the suit said Reeves was extremely intoxicated and refused to leave her front porch. He then stepped into the yard in the shadows with his companion and ignored her commands to leave, so she fired a warning shot, the response states.
Damico has said Nichols called 911 after the shooting and did not learn she wounded Reeves until later.
* This article was edited after publication to include a statement from Reeves that he was not intoxicated the morning of the shooting.