The Transylvania Times -

By Kevin Fuller
Staff Writer 

Shooting Case Ends In Mistrial - Brevard NC


Jonalyn Nicholson

A Transylvania County Superior Court Judge ruled a mistrial Friday in the state's case against a Brevard woman accused of shooting her former fiance in the back in 2013.

Judge Greg Horne ordered a mistrial in the trial of Jonalyn Lacy Nicholson, when the 12 jurors became deadlocked after nearly three hours of deliberation.

Nicholson, who was 29 at the time of the incident, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and larceny of a firearm after allegedly shooting her ex-fiance Lanny Gunter, who now resides in South Carolina, in the back in a Brevard apartment they shared on Oct. 22, 2013.

The jury came back deadlocked 10-2, with no indication of which side the jury was leaning, after just over an hour of deliberation. After two more orders from Horne to reexamine the evidence and make a unanimous decision, the jury was still deadlocked and a mistrial was ruled.

Nicholson is scheduled to appear back in court on Aug. 27 for a pretrial hearing to determine representation. A retrial is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 26.

She faces between 144 and 180 months in prison if found guilty.

The following appeared in the Aug. 20 Transylvania Times:

A South Carolina man testified in Transylvania County Superior Court Tuesday that his former fiance Jonalyn Lacy Nicholson deliberately shot him in the couple's apartment in 2013, while Nicholson testified it was an accident.

Several witnesses were called to the stand during the trial of the Brevard woman facing attempted first-degree murder, including the victim, Lanny Gunter, who alleges Nicholson shot him in the back while he tried to gather his belongings. Gunter and Nicholson were 29 years old at the time of the incident.

Gunter, who now resides in South Carolina, told jurors on Tuesday morning he had ended his relationship with Nicholson and returned to the apartment the couple shared to gather his remaining belongings, when Nicholson shot him in the back with a .38 caliber revolver.

Gunter said he was knocked to the ground as a result of the gunshot and after getting back to his feet he began pleading for his life.

"She told me that she wasn't going to listen to me, that I was going to die in that house that day," he said.

Nicholson, wearing grey pants, a white shirt and black cardigan, sat while Gunter calmly answered questions from District Attorney Greg Newman.

She listened as Gunter outlined the physical struggle that ensued after he was shot.

"She told me that she was done talking and that it was time for me to die," he said. "I slapped her hand away and told her, 'not today.'"

According to Gunter's testimony, Nicholson took three more shots at him while he was attempting to escape.

Gunter eventually physically restrained Nicholson, taking the gun from her, jumping in his vehicle and leaving the home he once shared with Nicholson and her three children.

Nicholson also fled the scene.

Nicholson, who had posted bail and been released from the Transylvania County Detention Center, faces several charges.

She was taken into custody about 9 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2013, the same day of the shooting, and charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

The charges were later changed to attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and larceny of a firearm.

Nicholson claimed the shooting was an accident.

During a taped interrogation played for jurors Tuesday afternoon, Nicholson said she'd taken the gun into the bedroom only to scare Gunter. Nicholson's defense attorney, Will Cathey, relied on that statement as the foundation of his defense strategy.

"It was an honest accident," Nicholson said in the video recording that shows Transylvania County Sheriff's investigators asking her about the incident.

Several of Nicholson's family members sat behind her during witness testimony that began with prosecutors playing the initial 911 call recording from Gunter.

"I've been shot," Gunter could be heard saying in a panicked voice to the 911 operator. "Sir, I need an ambulance."

The shooting left Gunter with a bullet lodged in his back. He testified doctors were unable to remove the bullet and he has been left with physical disabilities.


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