In 1984, "mountain man" Don Nichols kidnapped professional athlete Kari Swenson, accidentally shot her, left her wounded, and escaped into the woods where he escaped law enforcement for five months. Anyway, he's up for parole again.
For a long time, Nichols contended that this was all just a misunderstanding — he and his son did intimidate Swenson into coming with them, but he said they were going to let her go if things didn't work out. What he doesn't mention is that he shot and killed the first man who came to rescue her.
But Nichols has credited his actions to his old-fashioned "mountain man" ways, which is why many people aren't eager to see him out of prison.
Don Nichols' crime, however, still looms large for his victims and many in the Bozeman-area community who want to make sure he doesn't get out of prison. And the collection of writing he sent to the library reveals a disdain for laws, modern life and seemingly little regret for his crime — suggesting that "flatlanders" may just forget about what he referred to as the "incident."
Nichols was last up for parole five years ago. The state received almost 200 letters petitioning against his release.
Nichols' son Dan — yes, Don and Dan — was paroled in 1991. Jefferson County issued a warrant for his arrest last month after he missed a pretrial hearing. The younger Nichols had been booked for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, a relatively minor crime compared to the whole kidnapping thing. Nevertheless, he is resisting arrest and may very well be hiding out in the woods.
So Charles Manson, Don Nichols — who's next? These notable parole hearings always come in threes.
[Image via AP]