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Teen murder suspect pleads guilty to reduced charge

Bruce Thomas
ABC 17 News
Bruce Thomas was originally charged with murder in the shooting death of Nilez Nichols on Nov. 19, 2018.


A 16-year-old Jefferson City boy pleaded guilty Thursday to a reduced charge in the shooting death of another teen.

Bruce Thomas pleaded guilty in Cole County to first-degree robbery in the killing of Nilez Nichols, 19. Nichols was shot to death in November 2018 in what police called a drug deal turned violent at a Stadium Boulevard home.

Thomas was one of three men allegedly involved in the drug deal.

Prosecuting Attorney Locke Thompson told ABC 17 News on Wednesday that he came to an agreement allowing Thomas to avoid the original second-degree murder charge that was filed against him.

Thomas faces a maximum 12-year sentence. Judge Jon Beetem said because of Thomas' age he will consider a program for youth offenders. A sentencing assessment report will be sent to the Division of Youth Services, which will recommend to the judge whether Thomas should be put into a special program.

Sentencing is set for March 3. Thomas will appear in court Jan. 7 to determine whether he should be released pending his sentencing.

Cole / Court and Trials / Drugs / Homicide / Jefferson City / News / Top Stories
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Joe McLean

Joe reports stories all across mid-Missouri, including our WasteBusters series of reports, and co-anchors ABC 17 News at 9 a.m. with Zara Barker.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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