The man police and prosecutors say stabbed and killed 25-year-old Rayshauna Webber in a fight that broke out over his derogatory response to her turning down his offer of a light for her cigarette in the middle of Pike/Pine nightlife crowds in Cal Anderson pleaded not guilty Monday morning in King County Superior Court.
David Nichols, 50, faces charges of second-degree murder and assault in the second degree for the early morning July 14th stabbing that killed Webber and left another woman with a minor cut during a night of partying on Capitol Hill.
According to court documents, two women were with the victim when she was stabbed in the early morning melee in the middle of Pike/Pine’s late nightlife scene. They told police the incident began when the suspect approached the group on the edge of the park and offered to light one of the women’s cigarettes. “When they declined he replied with a derogatory comment,” police write. The women told police they talked with the suspect but a fight quickly broke out. Witnesses told police Nichols pushed Webber who pushed him back. When the suspect struck another of the women, she told police she fell to the ground and realized that Webber had been cut and was “bleeding profusely.”
Webber was found by police bleeding on the sidewalk at Pine and Nagle just before 3 AM that Sunday morning. Despite the CPR by officers and Seattle Fire, she was later pronounced dead at Harborview. SPD Deputy Chief Marc Garth-Green later said a medical student who happened to be at the scene helped keep Webber alive with CPR until first responders arrived at the scene.
In the chaos following the stabbing, police say Nichols got into his car parked on E Pine near 10th and sped away from the scene. With the help of security video and credit card information from a nearby E Pine business, detectives were able to identify Nichols and included his photo in a montage shown to witnesses in the days following the murder. He was identified and taken into custody in Tacoma. According to court records, the 50-year-old works as a truck driver and has live in Fife for the past year in a motel. Nichols told police he moved to Washington from Florida to be near his child.
Prosecutors say Nichols’s criminal record is limited with a misdemeanor conviction for a concealed weapons permit violation from 18 years ago in Oregon.
Police say Nichols was intoxicated at the time of the fight and admitted he was involved in the incident when he was interviewed following his arrest. “He said he produced a ‘Karambit’ knife in the course of the disturbance with the three women,” police write. “He ended up running away from the woman (sic) after one of them was stabbed. When he got to his car he saw that he had blood on his hands and on the knife.”
Police say Nichols threw the knife — a karambit is a small Indonesian curved knife resembling a claw — and its sheath out of the car window as he drove home after the deadly stabbing. His bloody clothes, police say, were left in a dumpster in Longview.
In the short court appearance Monday morning, the defense quickly entered the plea for Nichols who was then escorted back to King County Jail where he remains held on $2 million bail. Family and loved ones of Webber attended the hearing and sat quietly through the proceedings.
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