The Transylvania Times -

By Kevin Fuller
Staff Writer 

Judge Declares Mistrial In Shooting Case - 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 the mistrial after the 12 jurors remained deadlocked after nearly three hours of deliberation in the case of Jonalyn Lacy Nicholson.

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 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's attorney, William Cathey, focused on a defense hinged on convincing jurors the shooting was an accident.

"She lacked the intention to kill or murder anyone," said Cathey during the trial.

Nicholson had told Transylvania County Sherriff's Office investigators that it was an accident.

District Attorney Greg Newman tried to prove Nicholson deliberately shot Gunter, who was also 29 at the time, in the apartment they shared at about 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 22, after the two discussed their relationship, which had gone awry.

Gunter testified that Nicholson had a drinking problem, causing the demise of the couple's relationship, but which was highly refuted by Nicholson's defense.

Neither Nicholson or the dozens of family and friends in the Transylvania County courtroom seemed relieved by the judge's decision.

Nicholson has since posted bail and been released from jail after serving 128 days in the Transylvania County Jail.

Nicholson is scheduled to appear back in court Thursday for a pretrial hearing to determine representation.

A retrial is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 26. A new jury will be chosen for the retrial.

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


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