Nixon Sentenced to 100 Years for Role in Murder

By Beacon Staff

A Flathead County District Court judge sentenced a Kalispell man to 100 years in prison for his role in the April 2010 beating death of 49-year-old Wesley Collins.

District Court Judge Stewart Stadler sentenced Jeffrey Nixon, 19, Wednesday. In July, a jury found Nixon guilty of accountability to deliberate homicide, robbery, evidence tampering and burglary.

During his trial, Nixon admitted to watching Robert Lake beat Collins to death with two hammers, and then helped Lake remove and hide the body. Lake and his girlfriend, Karrolyn Robinson, lived in the apartment below Collins and have already been sentenced for their roles in the murder.

Stadler sentenced Nixon to 100 years in prison for accountability to deliberate homicide, 10 years for evidence tampering, 25 years for robbery and 15 years for burglary, all to run concurrently, resulting in a net sentence of 100 years.

During the Sept. 14 hearing, Collins’ sister, Kathy Collins, told the judge that she would direct her comments toward the court to avoid speaking to Nixon, whom she called a “beast” multiple times during testimony.

She said her brother, whom she called “Bubba,” lived in fear of Lake, Robinson and Nixon. Wesley Collins knew he was “living right above some extremely evil beasts,” Kathy Collins said.

“Nixon’s not a man. No man would do that to another man,” she said. “He destroyed our family forever.”

Another of Wesley Collins’ sisters, Carol Davies, told the court that despite her brother’s lifestyle choices, he had the right to be safe in his apartment.

During Nixon’s weeklong July trial, he admitted during testimony that he was present in Collins’ apartment smoking the victim’s marijuana when Lake beat the man to death with hammers.

“There’s no excuse for going into another’s own home and bludgeoning (him) to death,” Davies said. “Jeffrey Nixon is a predator.”

Nixon’s mother, Kimberly Schaub, told the judge that while she homeschooled him, her son was a voracious reader with a sense of adventure and curiosity.

At age 12, Nixon wanted to be a U. S. Marine. But things changed when her son turned 16, Schaub said, after he found a new group of friends who convinced him that his family didn’t care about him.

“I think teenagers as a whole take for granted their families,” Schaub said.

Schaub said her son has learned since the murder that his family supports and loves him unconditionally. When asked what sentence her son deserved for his crimes, Schaub said she believed Nixon had done wrong and should be punished for it, but not for rumors surrounding the attack.

“I’ve tried to teach my kids consequences,” she said.

Lisa Dale, whose daughter once dated Nixon, said he had a “calming effect” on her daughter and was smart enough to hold an adult conversation about anything. She noted that Nixon was excited about the welding classes he was taking and is good with children.

When asked by defense attorney Noel Larrivee if she would trust Nixon enough to have him as an acquaintance if he is paroled from prison, Dale replied, “I would love to have him over for dinner tonight.”

Nixon did not make a statement during the hearing.

Prosecutor Alison Howard told Stadler it was crucial to hold Nixon accountable for his crimes, asking for the sentence that Stadler eventually handed down.

Howard also asked that Nixon pay $1,110 in restitution for funeral costs, which Stadler granted with the caveat that Nixon’s attorneys could file a motion against it.

Defense attorney Nicolas Aemisseger reminded Stadler that the jury did not find that Nixon had used a weapon during the assault, nor did he play an active role in the bludgeoning.

Nixon was also 18 years old at the time, Aemisseger said, and using narcotics and marijuana.

Aemissegger recommended a 65-year sentence for the accountability to deliberate homicide charge, and concurred with the prosecution’s suggestions for the three other felonies.

During sentencing, Stadler told Nixon that he had harmed not only Collins and his family, but Nixon’s own family as well. He also considered the aggravating circumstances in this case, which included Nixon’s conviction and the fact that he was in the apartment when the murder occurred.

“The court is convinced (Nixon was in the apartment) not for a social gathering, but for something worse than a social gathering,” Stadler said.

But Stadler said Nixon’s actions after the murder – helping dispose of the body, not going to the police and attempting to buy acid to dissolve the body – were the most incriminating, saying Nixon likely participated more than Lake did in the aftermath.

Stadler did not place any parole restrictions on Nixon’s sentence, noting Nixon had a chance to rejoin society once again at the age of 45 if paroled.

“Which is a better chance than you gave Mr. Collins,” Stadler said.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.