- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A 30-year-old man is accused of killing a woman found shot to death last month in the trunk of a burned-out car abandoned in eastern New Orleans.

Thayon Samson, of New Orleans, was booked Monday with second-degree murder in the death of Lindsay Nichols, 31, of Des Allemands, whose body was found June 21, police said in a news release Tuesday.

Cellphone data and DNA from a pair of shorts found in the car backed up the arrest warrant for Samson, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune (https://bit.ly/1Ov1iuM ) reported. Documents also show Nichols called 911 early June 21, saying a man was outside her car, holding her keys and pointing a gun at her.

Samson’s bond was set Tuesday at $2.5 million. It was unknown if he had an attorney who could comment on the case.

Nichols, a single mother, is survived by her 9-year-old son. Firefighters found her burned body after putting out a vehicle fire about 7:20 a.m. About 7 a.m., witnesses and anonymous saw someone matching Samson’s description at the car’s open trunk, according to the arrest report.

Samson, a barber, lives less than a mile away from where the car was found, according to court documents.

An autopsy determined Nichols died from “numerous gunshot wounds,” the arrest report said.

Friends said Nichols left a nightclub in eastern New Orleans around 4 a.m. after meeting Samson and getting his phone number. She called him 4:11 a.m. and 4:18 a.m., according to phone data. Her frantic call to 911 was at 4:45 a.m., at an apartment complex near a car dealership.

“As the call progressed,” the warrant affidavit says, “an irate male subject’s voice became audible and he began to scream profanities at her, accusing her of providing his address to another subject; (Nichols) moaned and sounded as if she were being attacked.”

That was the last anyone heard from her.

A search of the car after her body was found turned up partly burned plastic bag of bloodstained clothing. The white tank-top undershirt, tube socks and a pair of red basketball shorts were sent to the state police crime lab for DNA analysis.

Detective Rob Barrere then got Samson’s cellphone records, which placed Samson and Nicholls near the same cell tower during her 911 call, and twice at the homicide scene some eight miles away, first at 5:29 a.m. and again at 7:07 a.m., the affidavit says.

When interviewed, Barrere wrote, Samson said he had met Nichols at the nightclub but went straight home and never answered when she called him.

Barrere scoured Samson’s social media accounts and found a photo on Samson’s Instagram account showing him wearing red gym shorts “which were identical to the bloodstained pair located within the decedent’s vehicle,” including the brand name, the report said. It said the DNA analysis received Monday found Samson’s DNA on the inner waistband of the shorts found in Nichols’ car.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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