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Gag order issued in ex-deputy sex crime trial

By by Robin Y. Richardson ryrichardson@news-journal.com
June 4, 2013 at 11 p.m.


MARSHALL - Former Harrison County sheriff's deputy, Huey "Eddie" Nichols Jr., and his wife Sharon - a former deputy county clerk - will go on trial in July on charges of sexual indecency with a child.

A gag order was issued in the cases, silencing prosecutors and defense attorneys. 188th District Judge David Brabham will serve as presiding judge after 71st District Judge Brad Morin recused himself.

Eddie Nichols' trial was set for July 8. Sharon Nichols is scheduled to go on trial the week of July 22.

Morin recused himself saying he once represented Sharon Nichols ex-husband in a custody battle.

The couple was first arrested in September 2011 on two charges of sexual indecency with a child by contact. Nichols was arrested again that December on a third charge of sexual indecency with a child. His last arrest Feb. 16, 2012, was for two additional charges - sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child. He bonded out of jail a few days later on Feb. 24, according to jail records.

Prosecutors allege the victims in Nichols' first arrest were two girls, ages 14 and 11 at the time it was reported. They told a school counselor and authorities that Nichols touched them inappropriately. In his third charge, Nichols is accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl from January 2002 to March 2003.

Authorities learned of the accusations from a school counselor, who came forth with the information after Nichols and his wife were arrested in September 2011 on the other two cases.

Nichols was fired from the sheriff's office following the investigation in the first case and Sharon Nichols was fired from her position as deputy county clerk a few days later.

Nichols worked with the Harrison County Sheriff's office for three-and-a-half years before his termination. Prior to his employment with the sheriff's office, he worked for Marshall Police Department as an officer for 13 years. While at MPD, he also served as the department's chaplain.

Defense attorney Vernard Solomon has been appointed to represent Eddie Nichols; attorney Laura M. Carpenter has been retained to represent Sharon Nichols.

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