William G. Nicol is very familiar with Courtroom C at the Benton County Justice Center.
It’s where he spent one week in October 2016 as lawyers argued his role in raping a boy over a four-year period.
And it’s from there that he ran when it became clear Superior Court jurors were going to convict him.
On Friday, Nicol was back in Courtroom C after his one year on the lam ended in his capture at the Mexico border.
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Nicol, 80, pleaded innocent to bail jumping for leaving the courthouse before the verdicts were read.
He was out on $10,000 bail at the time, but would have been taken into custody once found guilty.
Now he has no-bail holds on both the new felony case and his convictions for first-degree child molestation and two counts of first-degree child rape.
“While the conduct that underlies the (bail jumping) charge remains an accusation, it does appear by its nature to be a thing that would have been observed in court by others,” Judge Alex Ekstrom said Friday. “So (the allegations are) entitled to perhaps some more weight having been observed by neutral officers of the court.”
Sentencing on the sex crimes is set tentatively for Jan. 4.
Nicol could get more than 18 years in prison since jurors found he was in a position of trust when he sexually assaulted the grade-school boy. The rapes and molestation carry mandatory life sentences.
Nicol denied the allegations at trial, claiming that the boy was put up to accusing him.
The defendant knew jurors were close to announcing their verdicts when he told his attorney he was going to use the restroom in the courthouse.
Instead, he fled the Justice Center, with a security officer reporting that he saw a man matching Nicol’s description walk and then run to the parking lot.
A nationwide warrant was issued.
The Montana man was stopped Oct. 3 entering the United States through Calexico in the Imperial Valley. He was driving a 1995 Lincoln Town Car, and both name and fingerprint checks showed federal border patrol agents that he was wanted in Benton County.
Nicol was extradited from Southern California, arriving in Kennewick on Thursday.
Jim Egan, Nicol’s lawyer at trial, has retired since the trial.
On Friday, Gary Metro of Richland said he was substituting for Egan on the sex case.
Nicol, when asked if he could afford an attorney, told the court “Yes” and said it also was his intention to hire Metro on the bail jumping case. That trial is Jan. 29.