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Knoxville man charged in brother's fatal shooting

December 02, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

KNOXVILLE, Md. -- A Knoxville man is charged with shooting his brother to death during an argument Tuesday night, according to Maryland State Police.

Police alleged Wednesday that Allen L. Nichols, 45, shot Terry Nichols, 43, to death at about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday at a house in the 200 block of Knoxville Road that they shared with their mother and an older brother.

Allen Nichols has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, first-degree assault and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, police said in a news release.

Police said Terry Nichols was on the first floor of the home Tuesday night talking with his mother and others when they heard Allen Nichols banging on the floor of his upstairs bedroom, apparently upset with the noise they were making.

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Minutes later, Allen Nichols came downstairs and met Terry Nichols in the kitchen, where an argument ensued, police said. That was when witnesses heard a gunshot, police said.

Maryland State Police troopers and Frederick County Sheriff's Department deputies responded to the house after a getting a 911 call reporting the shooting, police said.

Terry Nichols was found in the kitchen with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head, police said. He was pronounced dead by emergency medical personnel at the scene, police said.

Police said they found Allen Nichols in a bedroom upstairs and arrested him without incident.

No one else was injured in the incident, police said.

Terry Nichols' body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy, police said.

Maryland State Police Homicide Unit investigators continued to process the scene and interview witnesses Wednesday with help from State Police crime scene technicians and investigators from the Frederick County Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

A handgun was recovered from the house and will be forwarded to a police lab for ballistic examination to determine if it was used in the slaying, police said.

Allen Nichols was being held without bond Wednesday night at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, a spokesperson there said.

News of the shooting surprised neighbors in the small town near the Potomac River, just across the Frederick County line from the southern tip of Washington County.

"It's a quiet town," said one resident who has lived in Knoxville for more than 50 years and did not want to give her name. "A quiet town and a peaceful town."

Another resident, Lillian Whitmore, said she and her neighbors had recently become more concerned about crime.

"We hear gunfires a lot in this town, during the nights," Whitmore said.

Three or four weeks ago, residents reported hearing gunshots and police conducted a search by helicopter, but never found the source of the shots, Whitmore said.

After that, a group of Knoxville residents formed a neighborhood watch group and asked the Frederick County sheriff to collaborate with them.

"He just said there wasn't enough crime out here," Whitmore said.

Whitmore, who lives down the street from the Nichols' house, said she knew the family by name only.

"They pretty much stayed to themselves," she said.


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