- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

MINDEN, Nev. (AP) - A 30-year-old woman has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of open murder in the Dec. 2 shooting death of a man at the Gardnerville home they rented.

East Fork Justice of the Peace Tom Perkins on Friday ruled there was sufficient evidence to try Nicole Followill in the death of 33-year-old Jason Thrift, a Marine veteran of the war in Iraq.

At prosecutors’ request, Perkins declined to reduce her $1 million bail, Gardnerville’s Record-Courier reported (http://bit.ly/P5kgiA ). Followill has been in the Douglas County Jail since her arrest after the shooting.

Followill told detectives she shot Thrift once in the forehead with a 9 mm Glock handgun as he came at her, but she argued it was justifiable homicide because he was going to kill her. She said Thrift had just beaten her for a fourth time since he moved into the house in July.


But a coroner’s inquest in January determined that Thrift died by criminal means.

On the day of the shooting, Followill said, the two argued over finances and Thrift then went for a walk. While he was gone, she had the locks changed and threw his possessions on the front lawn.

Followill’s brother, Shaun, the only witness at the preliminary hearing, testified Friday that he arrived at the scene moments after the shooting. He said he could tell right away she had been hit because the left side of her face was red and puffy.

“She looked like she’d been in a boxing match, like a professional boxer does when he gets beat up,” he said, adding he was unaware that his sister was being beaten until then.

Followill told investigators that she and Thrift had no intimate relationship, despite his wishes. She said they never kissed, and their physical contact was limited to an occasional “friend hug.”

Asked why she didn’t flee the residence if she was afraid, she replied, “He’s just going to come after me. I kicked him out one time, and he tried to get back in the house through my bedroom window.”

Followill is scheduled to be arraigned April 14 in district court.

The open-murder charge allows prosecutors to pursue a conviction ranging from manslaughter to first-degree murder.

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Information from: Gardnerville Record-Courier, http://www.recordcourier.com