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Murder trial begins for Florida woman accused of shooting, killing parents

Posted at 5:27 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 18:35:51-04

TAMPA, Fla. — A murder trial is underway in the case against former Florida State University student, Nicole Nachtman, for the double murder of her parents.

RELATED: Murder trial set to start Wednesday for former FSU student accused of shooting, killing parents

Fourteen jurors were selected in the case, and opening statements began on Wednesday.

Assistant State Attorney John Terry began focusing on Nachtman's behavior prior to the incident.

He described a bitter custody battle between her parents when she was young, a difficult time for a young child to be torn between parents. At 4, her mother Mryiam was awarded custody and that was the last time she saw her birth father.

Myriam later married Robert Dienes.

During the summer of 2015 Nachtman was at Florida State University, by her second semester her grades began to slip.

Prosecutors say she was glued to her computer and not present. She was fascinated with anime and fantasy worlds.

Terry says there came a point where Nachtman failed to sign up for housing at FSU and didn't want to tell her mom or Robert.

"This, ladies and gentlemen, is the spot where her plan takes shape," Terry said.

Terry told the jury Nachtman killed her step-father with a gun he kept in the drawer beside his bed. After, they say she dragged his body into a guest bedroom, put a blanket over him and locked the door. That's when she planned out how she would kill her mother.

Investigators reportedly used cell phone records and GPS to connect Nicole Nachtman to the crime. Her bloody fingerprint was also found at the scene. They say GPS shows after she killed her step-father, she drove her car nearly 2 miles away so her mom wouldn't see it when she got home.

When her mom arrived she attempted to sneak out the window, but her mother came back outside and found her in the driveway. After her mom asked her what she was doing at the house and not at school, the state says Nicole pulled out the gun and shot her three times. The third bullet entered her head, killing her.

"I did it. I shot them," Nachtman reportedly told her brother on the phone afterwards. "You can call me an animal but don't call me a monster. If I had only gotten the good news about the housing before hand I wouldn't of had to do it."

Neighbors say they saw Nachtman around the house for days.

"Not only did she know what she was doing, but she knew the consequences and wrongfulness of what she was doing by covering her tracks," Terry said. "By fleeing Tampa, making up lies, she knew she was going to be in trouble, go to jail and she knew it was wrong what she did."

He believes that proves both murders were premeditated.

Defense attorney Julianne Holt described Nachtman as a broken individual because of chronic turmoil and instability.

She says the relationship with her mother had a big impact on her mental health.

By the time she was a year old, Holt says had begun to walk and talk, but when she turned 3, she wasn't even potty trained. Holt says the downfall continued as she got older.

Her brother Kevin died and her other brother Joey moved. Holt says that was to get away from their parents.

She blames the custody battle at age four for instability in her environment and highlighted the fact that she was in 13 different schools throughout her life.

"A damaged person sits here today and the evidence is going to support that," Holt said. "The tragedy is real. Many witnesses will walk you through from her birth to the onset of many red flags that would have led someone to believe something is wrong with my child."

Holt said during high school, despite the concerns of family members, her mother had her live in her own apartment. She says its clear Nicole wasn't getting the support she needed to be successful and was heavily controlled by her mom.

The trial will continue Thursday as the prosecution calls its first witnesses. The case is expected to last two weeks.