DATE: Saturday, January 11, 2020
SUBJECT: Parolee with Violent Past Arrested after Standoff with Sheriff’s Office
CONTACT: Colonel Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a parolee previously convicted of voluntary manslaughter after a stand-off at a northern Vanderburgh County residence.

On Friday, January 10, 2020 at approximately 12:30 PM the Sheriff’s Office responded to a welfare check at a residence located in the 3000-block of Bromm Road. Parolee Eric Nicholson was reportedly refusing to go to a scheduled mental health appointment and had been breaking the windows out of the residence. Nicholson also threatened that if law enforcement arrived at the home he would set himself on fire using gasoline.

Responding sheriff’s deputies created a temporary command post near the intersection of Bromm Road and Orchard Road and did not approach the residence. Deputies confirmed that Nicholson’s family members were out of the residence and safe. The family joined us at the command post and explained that Nicholson was experiencing a manic episode and hallucinating severely.

Deputies began researching Nicholson’s criminal history and confirmed that on February 19, 1999 Nicholson pled guilty to a reduced charge of Voluntary Manslaughter as a Class A Felony in Vanderburgh Superior Court. At the age of 23, Nicholson was sentenced to the Indiana Department of Corrections for a period of forty-five (45) years for the death of his aunt, Ms. Melody Trent of Evansville. Trent was killed in her own apartment in the 1600-block of N. Seventh Street after being stabbed four times, sustaining repeated blows to her head with a blunt object and having her throat cut.  

On September 28, 2018 Nicholson was released to the Evansville Parole District after serving a little over 20 years and 8 months in prision. On November 09, 2018 the Sheriff’s Office responded to Nicholson’s residence on Bromm Road after his family reported he was hallucinating and thought someone was shooting at him through a window. Nicholson had been released from prison with a 30 day supply of medication, but his family had not been able to obtain another prescription.

Nicholson initially agreed to allow the deputies to transport him to the hospital for an evaluation, but then assaulted a deputy and was taken into custody after a struggle. Nicholson was taken to the hospital by ambulance for a physical evaluation. He was later booked on charges of Resisting Law Enforcement and Battery on a Public Safety Official. Additionally, the Evansville Parole District filed a parole violation against Nicholson. All the charges were later dismissed in September of 2019 and Nicholson was released from custody.

At the command post, Sheriff’s Office negotiators attempted to make telephone contact with Nicholson, but he sounded incoherent and would frequently hang the phone up. During the stand-off, Nicholson’s parole officer applied for and obtained a new parole violation warrant. After consulting with NichoIson’s family members (who owned the home), the decision was made to deescalate the situation by leaving Nicholson alone in the home.

The Sheriff’s Office utilized plain clothes detectives to notify all the surrounding residents of the situation. Residents were cautioned to call 911 should Nicholson be observed approaching their residences.

Around 6:00 PM Friday evening the Sheriff’s Office responded to a report that Nicholson was seen walking in the area and later located him on North Saint Joseph Avenue near Mohr Road. Nicholson was ordered to lie on the ground, but refused to comply. After being warned that a Sheriff’s K-9 would be used against him, Nicholson surrendered without resistance.

Nicholson is currently being held in the Vanderburgh County Jail with no bond on a parole violation warrant.

Sheriff Dave Wedding stated, “This case is a perfect illustration of the challenges our criminal justice system faces when dealing with violent offenders who are in need of long term mental health care.” Sheriff Wedding added, “We must have adequate bed space and mental health resources in our community to prevent cases like this from spiraling into tragedy.”

Eric Ryan Nicholson (pictured above), 44, of Evansville. Parole Violation Warrant.

Presumption of Innocence Notice: The fact that a person has been arrested or charged with a crime is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.