Weather Alerts

Emotions Run High in Court as Chase Nicholson Pleads Guilty to Murdering His Family

POLK COUNTY, Iowa  -- Chase Nicholson will spend the rest of his life in prison after admitting in court on Monday that he shot and killed his mother, father and sister last year in their Bondurant home.

Nearly 13 months after their deaths Chase Nicholson plead guilty to three counts of First Degree Murder for the shooting deaths of Charla, Mark and Tawni Nicholson.  Chase Nicholson told the court voices told him to kill himself in the weeks before the murder.  That lead him to buy a gun online.  He then used that gun to kill his family.  He then fled to southern Missouri where he turned himself in to authorities at a Wal-Mart.

Chase Nicholson has a long history of mental illness, including be diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic.  Court records show his family tried to get him help and that he is on various medications.  However family members say it wasn't enough.

Chase fought back tears as he admitted to shooting his family to death.  "I love my mother, father and sister very much and I miss them every day," Chase Nicholson said.

His attorney, Matthew Sheeley, helped lead chase through his confession in court.  “Tell the court what the voices said at this point,” Matthew Sheeley asked Chase, “They were telling me that you should kill them not yourself,” Chase Nicholson replied.  According to a search warrant, Nicholson also stabbed one of his female victims in the face.

After admitting his guilt family members spoke for those he'd killed.  When Chase's aunt spoke to the court about Tawni, Chase broke down in tears.  “She just graduated from Iowa State University and found a good job but, it is like time has been frozen for her at age 24," aunt Cynthia Liston Thye said.

Nicholson's attorney says his client’s mental illness is to blame for what he did.  “Chase Nicholson did not make the conscious decision to wake up one day and say you know what i want to be paranoid schizophrenic today,”  Sheeley said. “There is another side of this, there is compassion for the individual”.

Aunt Cynthia Liston Thye begged and pleaded with the court to put her nephew behind bars in hopes of getting Chase the help he needs and to bring justice to the family.  “I must forgive Chase for what he has done.  But the evil at his hands will never be forgiven," Liston Thye said.

Chase Nicholson was given three sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole.  The sentences will be served consecutively.