A Spencer man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole after he pleaded guilty to “deliberately” killing the mother of his two young children. The plea allows him to avoid the death penalty.
David Dean Nichols Jr., 40, was charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 5 death of Jenna Flippo, 35, who was stabbed as many as 36 times with a screwdriver, prosecutors said.
“This was a very brutal crime,” Oklahoma County First Assistant District Attorney Scott Rowland said.
“Some of the wounds inflicted upon her were horrific.”
Prosecutors intended to seek the death penalty. Nichols agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison as part of a plea deal approved by the victim's family.
Prosecutors said Nichols stalked Flippo, whose body was found about 2:30 a.m. on the front lawn of her home at 2831 SW 63. Nichols was arrested about six hours later at a Del City convenience store.
“The defendant waited outside the victim's home … and when she came out he stabbed her between two and three dozen times with a screwdriver,” Rowland said.
“The state of Oklahoma had every intention of seeking the death penalty because of the heinousness and the atrociousness of this crime.”
Nichols admitted killing Flippo, telling Special Judge Larry A. Jones: “I deliberately stabbed Jenna Flippo to death. I am so sorry.”
Neither Nichols nor his parents, who stood behind him when he entered his plea, would comment outside of court.
Nichols and Flippo had two children together but were separated, police said.
Court documents show Flippo had been abused in 2005 by Nichols, who served prison time as a result. She also told police he threatened her in November, a couple of months before she was killed.
Flippo's death was Oklahoma City's first homicide of 2013.
Her father, stepmother and brother were present Friday but declined to comment inside or outside of court.
“We just felt like it was in everyone's best interest to bring some finality to this case,” Rowland said.