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Jefferson City teen gets 12-year suspended sentence in connection with 2018 killing

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


A judge suspended a Jefferson City teen's 12-year prison sentence Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery in December.

Bruce Thomas was originally charged with second-degree murder in the 2018 shooting death of 19-year-old Nilez Nichols. Thomas was 15 at the time.

Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Locke Thompson said in December that Thomas agreed to a plea deal.

Thomas' public defender said his client was put in the custody of the Division of Youth Services. Thomas was admitted into the state's dual jurisdiction program which suspends his prison sentence while Thomas goes through treatment.

Semaj Harris
Semaj Harris mugshot. Photo courtesy of the Cole County Jail.

Thomas is one of three people who were charged with Nichols' killing. Berry Jones and Semaj Harris were also charged in the case.

Police said the three men went to Nichols' residence on Stadium Boulevard to buy drugs on Nov. 19, 2018.

Court documents say Thomas admitted to police that he intended to steal drugs from Nichols.

 Documents say Thomas told police he struggled with someone over a gun and he and Harris ran from the home as Nichols gave chase.

Court documents say someone fired back at Nichols, but they don't make it clear who shot the gun.

Harris pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in May 2019. Prosecutors say he agreed to help with the investigation.

ABC 17 News reported Jones had a court hearing scheduled in March. Information about his case was not available in online court records on Wednesday.

Cole / Drugs / Homicide / Jefferson City / News / Top Stories

Matt Ragsdale

Matt Ragsdale is a broadcast and digital producer at ABC 17 News.


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