SPANISH FORK — A Spanish Fork man was charged Wednesday with murdering his wife nearly three weeks ago.
Robin Nichols, 35, was found unconscious and not breathing on the floor of her kitchen on Aug. 24 about 11 p.m., according to Spanish Fork police. Her husband, Curtis Nichols, 35, told police he found her there and called 911. Lifesaving efforts by emergency responders and at the hospital were unsuccessful.
An autopsy was conducted the next day by the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office. The autopsy concluded that Robin Nichols suffered injuries "consistent with strangulation and/or smothering" and that "Robin Nichols is the victim of a homicide" according to search warrant affidavits filed in 4th District Court.
Curtis Nichols was subsequently arrested. He was charged Wednesday in 4th District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, and three counts of domestic abuse in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony.
As part of their investigation, Spanish Fork police retraced Curtis Nichols' steps.
Nichols told police that he and his wife had played a game earlier in the evening about 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 24. She then went to the basement and he said he went to the store about 9 p.m., according to the warrants.
Spanish Fork police were able to verify that Nichols arrived at Walmart in Spanish Fork about 9:20 p.m. and left about 40 minutes later after purchasing four items, according to the affidavits. He then went to McDonald's about 10:10 p.m.
When he returned home, Nichols told police "he went upstairs to check on his children before going downstairs. Curtis said that he did not find Robin in the basement. Curtis said that he went upstairs to get a drink of water when he found Robin laying on the kitchen floor, just prior to calling 911," the warrants state.
Detectives, however, noted that it was 17 minutes from the time Nichols allegedly arrived home to when he called 911, according to charging documents. Based on where the woman's body was found, police said someone "would have had a hard time not seeing (her) legs in the kitchen area," according to court records.
Officers at the house noticed "a large mark or injury" on Curtis Nichols' forehead, according to the warrants. He told investigators that he hit his head on a kitchen cabinet while bending over to give his wife CPR.
But detectives also noted in charging documents that Nichols "was wearing a hat that was low on his forehead covering the marks on his forehead."3 comments on this story
They also observed other scratch marks on his face and arms.
"These injuries are consistent with fingernail marks that could be caused by a person being strangled trying to protect themselves," according to the charges.
Police said there was no sign of forced entry into the house.
The couple had lived in Spanish Fork for about two years and have three children, ages 2, 5 and 7. Spanish Fork police had not been called the house prior to Aug. 24, and Curtis Nichols does not have any significant criminal history in Utah, according to court records.