123 years minimum for firearms, theft counts
A convicted felon from Stevens County faces a minimum of 123 years in prison after a jury found him guilty Friday of 21 new charges, including stealing the gun used to murder a Colville man last year.
The jury deliberated about three hours before finding Christopher G. Nichols, who turned 27 on Thursday, guilty of nine counts of being a felon in a possession of a firearm and nine counts of theft of a firearm, burglary, auto theft and trafficking in stolen property in the first degree.
Although Nichols didn’t participate in the actual murder, he “was responsible for the theft of the weapon that was used to kill Gordon Feist,” Stevens County Prosecutor Tim Rasmussen said. “We got everybody who was responsible for the senseless murder of Mr. Feist.”
Since all the firearm possession charges carry consecutive sentences, Nichols now faces between 123 and 160 years when he goes before Superior Court Judge Pat Monasmith for sentencing on Aug. 7, Rasmussen said.
The prosecutor believes Nichols faces one of the longest sentences in Stevens County history for crimes not including murder.
Nichols, who was represented by defense attorney Bevan Maxey, had just gotten out of prison some 14 months prior to his arrest in the most recent case, which was prosecuted by Deputy Prosecutor Lech Radzimski, Rasmussen said.
Nichols and Eric L. Booth, 26, broke into a Stevens County home on Bradeen Road on June 28, 2011, and stole a safe containing several firearms.
Booth then took one of the stolen guns and planned a ruse to burglarize the upscale home south of Colville owned by 63-year-old Feist, who served three tours in Vietnam as a Navy SEAL.
Joining Booth in the crime were 27-year-old Jesse J. Fellman-Shimmin and Collette M. Pierce, 25. They asked Feist for gas. He was giving them a ride in his utility vehicle when Booth shot Feist in the head.
All three earlier pleaded guilty for their roles in the murder and testified against Nichols, which was part of their plea agreements, Rasmussen said.
Judge Monasmith previously sentenced Fellman-Shimmin to 25 years in prison, and he gave Pierce 15 years after she pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Booth, who fired the shot that killed Feist, received a sentence of 26 1/2 years.
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