A 4th Circuit judge Monday bound an American Fork man over to 4th District Court to be arraigned on a charge of manslaughter.
Following final testimony in the preliminary hearing of Vern Nicholes, 53, Judge Joseph I. Dimick said the state did show that there is probable cause to believe Nicholes could have caused the death of Joy Kay, 57, Orem. Kay died Jan. 16 at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, 23 days after being admitted with bruises and a head injury.Sharon I. Schnittker, assistant director of the Utah State medical examiner's office, testified Monday to conclude the hearing after a two-week continuance. The hearing was continued to accommodate Schnittker's schedule.
During the first part of the hearing, doctors testified that Kay had extensive bruises on her face and body when she was admitted. At the time Nicholes, who lived with Kay, attributed the bruises to a fall. Doctors performed surgery on Kay twice because of bleeding in her head. She eventually died from the bleeding.
A nurse who cared for Kay testified that before Kay died she admitted that she had been beaten.
Schnittker, who performed an autopsy on Kay, said Kay died from a subdural hematoma that could have been caused by either a fall or a blow to the head.
"I don't know for sure whether she had an accident or not," Schnittker said.
Schnittker testified that the condition of many of Kay's organs is consistent with that of a chronic alcoholic. Also, Kay suffered from liver disease and a blood disorder that kept her blood from coagulating properly. Schnittker said the disorder probably contributed to Kay's death.
Nicholes will be arraigned May 17 before 4th District Judge Ray M. Harding.