Sean Nichols, who was involved in the Dec. 30, 2012, murder of Nancy Hershman, 68, Milan, pleaded guilty to burglary of a dwelling resulting in serious bodily injury, a Class A felony, Jan. 28, in Ripley Circuit Court.
Prosecuting attorney Ric Hertel questioned the 16-year-old (who was 15 at the time of the crime) extensively.
The Colerain Township, Cincinnati, resident admitted at the time of his arrest in January 2013, he was using up to 4 grams of marijuana each day, but he never did “any harder drugs.” He often got high with his older brother and friends, including Daniel Hodge, who allegedly was also involved in Hershman’s murder and also was 15 then.
Nichols said he knew Hodge, who used to live in Ripley County, but was then residing with his aunt and uncle in Cincinnati, since he was in fourth grade. His nickname was Dan-Dan.
The young man said he had purchased a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic gun (the weapon used in the murder) and ammunition (five bullets) from a friend for $95 and some marijuana. Prior to that, he had owned a revolver, but it was stolen. He revealed the gun was for protection, and he often carried the loaded weapon in his coat pocket. The defendant also noted that Hodge knew he owned the gun.
The teen met Allison Moore, who was 22 at the time, the night of Dec. 29, 2012. Around 10:30 that evening, Nichols recalled Hodge calling him on his cell phone and asking if he “wanted to hang out.” He agreed, and a short time later, Moore and Hodge picked him up, along with his brother, Ben, and friend, Corey.
They were in the car for about five minutes, and “Dan-Dan said something about going to Indiana. Me, Ben and Corey had a discussion and agreed we would go,” Nichols reported. Then “Dan-Dan asked me if I wanted to rob a drug dealer …. (and) I decided to do it.”