Denzil Wells II apologized Monday to the family of Nicole Sours, saying he never intended for her to die during what prosecutors described as rough sex.
“Her humor, her spunk, her big blue eyes, her genuine smile are deeply missed,” he said. “I feel terribly guilty that I didn’t recognize that Nikki was in some sort of distress and I failed to give her the life-saving help that she desperately needed. For that, I take full responsibility.”
Neither Ms. Sours’ family nor Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda seemed to find Wells, 41, very sincere. The judge, who gave Wells the maximum four years in prison for negligent homicide and obstructing justice, said Wells told a pre-sentence investigator that he was “not a violent person against women.”
“You lie,” Judge Zmuda said. “You and I both know you are a violent person, not just because of what happened to Miss Sours, but your record reflects just how violent a person you are.”
Wells of 1411 Brooke Park Dr., has prior convictions for felony domestic violence and was on post-release control — formerly called parole — for a felonious assault conviction when Ms. Sours, 37, died in his bed April 13.
He initially told police she was fine until he awoke about noon and found her cold to the touch and purple. An autopsy concluded that Ms Sours was strangled, that Wells likely had put his arm around her in a choking fashion during sex. Judge Zmuda said after Wells learned he’d killed Ms. Sours, he took her clothes, the mattress, and the bedding and tried to dispose of them.
“You attempted to get away with murder,” he said.
Frank Spryszak, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the court Wells was offered the plea agreement because the evidence from the autopsy supported a charge of reckless homicide rather than a purposeful killing.
The victim’s mother, Mari Daugherty, told the court that she did not like the plea deal Wells received and was outraged that Wells did not have to tell the court how or why her daughter died.
“Is my daughter’s life only worth him doing four or five years?” she asked. “This is outrageous. Murder is murder, no matter what.”
She also challenged the “rough sex theory,” saying Wells was given the opportunity to say her daughter’s death was an accident but declined “so to me and my family this was a thrill kill to him.”
“All of this was his idea, not hers,” Ms. Daugherty said. “There is no way Nicole would have let a man she only met one week ago — and it was only one week — put his arm around her neck for rough sex. No way.”
Judge Zmuda gave Wells the maximum sentence on both charges — three years for reckless homicide and one year of obstructing justice. He also imposed 251 days of post-release control for the time Wells had remaining from his parole for a 2010 felonious assault conviction.
Afterward, Ms. Sours’ brother, Aaron Sours, said he would like to see a form of a “Nikki’s Law” passed that would require repeat violent offenders like Wells to register their address with the county sheriff.
“Maybe we can move forward and try to turn some kind of positive out of Nikki’s life, make it to where these violent offenders have to register and when they don’t register then they’re in violation and they go back to prison,” he said.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.