725 F.3d 516 (6th Cir. 2013), 06-6495, Nichols v. Heidle

Docket Nº:06-6495
Citation:725 F.3d 516
Opinion Judge:ALICE M. BATCHELDER, Chief Judge.
Party Name:HAROLD WAYNE NICHOLS, Petitioner-Appellant, v. STANTON HEIDLE, Warden, Respondent-Appellee
Attorney:Dana C. Hansen Chavis, FEDERAL DEFENDER SERVICES OF EASTERN TENNESSEE, INC., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant. James E. Gaylord, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee. Dana C. Hansen Chavis, FEDERAL DEFENDER SERVICES OF EASTERN TENNESSEE, INC., Knoxville, Tennessee...
Judge Panel:Before: BATCHELDER, Chief Judge; MARTIN and COOK, Circuit Judges. Batchelder, C. J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which COOK, J., joined. MARTIN, J., delivered a separate concurring opinion. BOYCE F. MARTIN, JR., Circuit Judge, concurring.
Case Date:July 25, 2013
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 516

725 F.3d 516 (6th Cir. 2013)

HAROLD WAYNE NICHOLS, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

STANTON HEIDLE, Warden, Respondent-Appellee

No. 06-6495

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

July 25, 2013

Argued January 24, 2013

Page 517

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 518

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 519

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee of Chattanooga. No. 1:02-cv-330--R. Allan Edgar, District Judge.

ARGUED:

Dana C. Hansen Chavis, FEDERAL DEFENDER SERVICES OF EASTERN TENNESSEE, INC., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant.

James E. Gaylord, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Dana C. Hansen Chavis, FEDERAL DEFENDER SERVICES OF EASTERN TENNESSEE, INC., Knoxville, Tennessee, for Appellant.

Mark A. Fulks, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Nashville, Tennessee, for Appellee.

Before: BATCHELDER, Chief Judge; MARTIN and COOK, Circuit Judges. Batchelder, C. J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which COOK, J., joined. MARTIN, J., delivered a separate concurring opinion.

OPINION

Page 520

ALICE M. BATCHELDER, Chief Judge.

Petitioner Harold Wayne Nichols, a Tennessee state prisoner awaiting execution, appeals on several grounds the district court's denial of his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Finding no merit in any of these grounds, we AFFIRM.

I.

A. Background

By any measure, Wayne Nichols had an oppressive and forlorn childhood, due to his father's abuse, his mother's illness, their poverty, and the church-dominated society into which he was born. Born December 31, 1960, to a poor family in Cleveland, Tennessee, near Chattanooga, he lived in a tiny, run-down house with his father Mac, mother Nanny Lou, and sister Deborah, who was three years older. The four shared a room. Mac's mother, Oma, lived in the other room. They were members of the Church of God of Prophecy and Mac allowed no visitors other than the occasional church member. Mac was a mean, abusive, and outright vile man.

On June 11, 1961, Mac's sister Betty Sampley and her husband drowned during

Page 521

a family outing, so two of their six children -- Royce and Diana, then 13 and 12 years old -- moved into the already-crowded Nichols household.1 The four younger Sampley children were placed in the nearby Tomlinson Children's Home, an orphanage run by the Church of God of Prophecy. For the next several years, Mac frequently exposed himself to adolescent Diana, menaced her sexually, and may have sexually assaulted her (the full extent of the abuse is unclear).

In August 1966, Oma died. In May 1967, Royce graduated from high school and moved out. And in January 1968, Diana married and moved out. Nanny Lou had been diagnosed with breast cancer in October 1966 and spent much of the rest of her life bedridden. Nanny Lou died of breast cancer on January 29, 1971. Wayne was then 10 years old and was left isolated in the home with just his 13-year-old sister and abusive father.

Mac continued to abuse Deborah and Wayne physically, and began (or continued) to abuse Deborah (and possibly Wayne) sexually. Mac's sexual abuse of Deborah soon became so flagrant that certain church leaders were compelled to intervene and on August 12, 1971, less than seven months after Nanny Lou's death, the church leaders brokered an agreement with Mac whereby Wayne and Deborah would be removed from his care and, in exchange, the abuse was covered up and Mac was never charged criminally. Wayne and Deborah, then 10 and 13 years old, were placed in the Tomlinson Children's Home. According to testimony and records of operating procedures, this was a stereotypically harsh and inhospitable orphanage.2 Wayne and Deborah remained there for the next several years. Mac did not visit or interact with them.

On May 1, 1976, Deborah married and moved away, apparently out of the state. On June 28, 1977, Wayne, who was then age 17, was returned to live with Mac.3 At that time, Mac was receiving disability benefits, drinking heavily, and cavorting with prostitutes. Mac was verbally and physically abusive to Wayne, though apparently not sexually abusive as the record reports only a single incident, in which he propositioned Wayne sexually and Wayne declined. While in high school, Wayne began to roam at night rather than go home.

Wayne graduated from Kirkman Technical High School in August 1979, but had trouble finding work. Over the next two years, he worked a series of minimum-wage jobs and then enlisted in the Army on November 30, 1981. In March 1982, while stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas, Wayne met a woman and they moved in

Page 522

together, even though she was married to another soldier. They never married but had a daughter, who was born in November 1983. Wayne did not fare well in the Army and was discharged in November 1983, a full two years early. Wayne did not fare well in this relationship either and in early 1984 Wayne left this woman and their daughter in Kansas and returned to Chattanooga.

It is unclear where Wayne was living upon his return to Chattanooga in early 1984, but he likely returned to live with his father, Mac. Wayne was reportedly working at a convenience store.

On the night of August 30, 1984, Wayne climbed through a window into an apartment that was shared by two women. According to Wayne, he intended only to rob the apartment and did not expect anyone to be there. But finding one of the women there, he grabbed her and attempted to rape her. She resisted and Wayne fled. Police arrested Wayne on September 4, 1984, and on December 13, 1984, he pled guilty to burglary and assault with attempt to rape. The court sentenced him to five years in prison, of which he served 18 months. While in prison at the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, psychologist Dr. Floyd Doughty prepared a psychological report on Wayne and found nothing remarkable.

Wayne was released on parole April 29, 1986, but missed a parole appointment on July 9, 1986, so his parole officer filed a violation (August 18, 1986), and Wayne went to jail for one month, from September 26, 1986, until October 26, 1986. He was then released and ordered to live with his father until he married his fiancee, Joanne.

Wayne and Joanne married on November 1, 1986. They both had jobs; Joanne at Sathers Candy and Wayne at Godfather's Pizza. They lived with Mac in the beginning, which Joanne recounted as having been awful. Mac was unreasonably demanding and verbally abusive, to which Wayne was apologetic and subservient. Eventually, Joanne and Wayne moved out. By all accounts, their marriage was happy and loving; Joanne was smitten with Wayne right up until his January 1989 arrest for the rapes and murder, and she claimed that he had treated her wonderfully throughout their relationship. In April 1987, Joanne had surgery for a blocked fallopian tube. And in June 1987, the woman in Kansas filed a paternity suit seeking child support. Wayne settled and paid some money. Otherwise, Wayne and Joanne appeared to be doing fine.

At 11:45 p.m. on June 29, 1987, a woman living in the East Ridge suburb of Chattanooga (almost four miles from Wayne's neighborhood) saw a man in a white t-shirt lurking outside her house and called the police. When the police arrived 10 minutes later, they found Wayne (in a white t-shirt) leaving the woods about 300 feet from the woman's house. Because he did not live in the area and could not give any reason for his being there, the police arrested him for prowling and carrying a dangerous weapon, a knife. On July 29, 1987, Wayne was returned to county jail for a year for the prowling conviction and parole violation. Wayne was released from jail on June 1, 1988. Joanne welcomed him home and Godfather's Pizza welcomed him back to work as though nothing had happened.

But according to Joanne, beginning in July or August of 1988, Wayne began to go out at night alone and stay out all night. He told her he was just restless and, apparently, she believed him. When she worried that he was having an affair, he was able to reassure her that he was not. Their relationship was solid. And, in September 1988, Wayne was promoted to first

Page 523

assistant manager at Godfather's Pizza. So that must have been going well also.

B. Crimes

The State prosecuted and convicted Wayne Nichols for the rapes or attempted rapes of 12 women during his three-month rape spree, which spanned the period from September 30, 1988, to January 3, 1989.4 But based on Nichols's additional confessions and his psychologists' assessments, there were almost certainly more victims and more rapes.

Victim # 1: Karen Elise Pulley (rape, murder)

On the night of Friday, September 30, 1988, Nichols parked near a house in the Brainerd area of Chattanooga where 21-year-old Karen Pulley lived with two female house mates. Nichols watched the house from outside and saw one of the women dress and leave. Nichols armed himself with a short length of two-by-four lumber,5 climbed in a bathroom window, and roamed through the house. When he found Karen Pulley in bed and alone, he struck her in the head with the two-by-four, tore her clothes from her, and forcibly raped her vaginally. Afterwards, Nichols hit her in the head several more times with the two-by-four, crushing her skull, and left her on the floor, bleeding and unconscious. Nichols inflicted an astounding amount of damage to Karen Pulley's head and body, as is evident from both the autopsy and the gruesome crime-scene photos, particularly when compared to photos of Karen Pulley from before the murder.

One of Pulley's house mates found her the next morning, alive but...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP