Former La Grange employee charged with murder in Will County
Updated: April 1, 2013 2:05AM
CREST HILL — Police say a former La Grange Public Works Department employee intentionally killed his wife with his car Saturday, but claimed it was an accident.
Crest Hill Police Chief Dwayne Wilkerson said evidence from the investigation led the Will County State’s Attorney’s office to file murder charges against Jerry Nichols, 62, in the death of Diane Nichols, 57.
Nichols called for an ambulance about 11 a.m., saying he had accidentally run into his wife while backing out of the garage, police said.
Diane Nichols was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center, where she died in the emergency room at 11:49 a.m., authorities said. An autopsy showed she died from “multiple injuries due to blunt trauma,” Coroner Patrick O’Neil said.
Assistant State’s Attorney John Connor said that as emergency personnel arrived at the house, they saw Nichols stomping on his wife’s face in their garage.
Wilkerson said investigators reconstructed the accident and arrested Nichols Monday morning. He is charged with first-degree murder, reckless homicide and aggravated domestic battery. The couple reportedly has children and grandchildren.
Wilkerson said police had no previous contact with the couple.
Nichols, a Vietnam veteran, has no criminal history and had been married for 12 years, his lawyer, Stephen Murphy, told Circuit Court Judge Roger Rickmon on Monday in seeking a $100,000 bail.
“That’s not going to happen,” Rickmon said, and set bail at Connor’s suggested $5 million.
A neighbor in the Arbor Glen subdivision on Monday described the couple as “good people” but did not want to comment further and sobbed when informed of the charges against Nichols.
Nichols retired in November after working 37 years for the La Grange Public Works Department. In an interview with The Doings at the time, he said he would be spending time with his family, specifically mentioning his second wife and five grandchildren.
Contributing: Janet Lundquist