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Nickens sentenced to 35 years

Monday, October 22, 2007 | 9:31 p.m. CDT; updated 9:09 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Donald Nickens, convicted of murder and armed criminal action by a Boone County jury last month, was sentenced to 35 years in prison Mondayfor the beating death of a Holts Summit man last year.

Thirteenth Circuit Court Judge Gene Hamilton sentenced Nickens, 31, to a term of 25 years for second-degree murder and 10 years for armed criminal action. The two terms will be served consecutively.

After a night of heavy drinking last November, Nickens and Chris Byers got into a fight, prosecutors argued in the September trial.

Prosecutors said after beating Byers with a chunk of concrete until he was unconscious, Nickens put him in the trunk of Byers’ car, where he later died.

Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Knight said that Nickens will have to serve at least 85 percent of his murder sentence and at least a third of the armed criminal action sentence — a little more than 24 years — before he is eligible for parole.

“I believe that due to the serious nature of this offense and the defendant’s criminal history, he will have to serve more than that,” Knight said.

Knight said he is pleased with the jury’s verdict and Hamilton’s sentence.

Public Defender Kevin O’Brien, Nickens’ attorney, could not be reached for comment late Monday night.


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