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April 16, 2014
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Woman denies murder

A Gardnerville woman, accused of shooting her roommate to death in December, pleaded not guilty Monday to open murder with use of a firearm.

District Judge Michael Gibbons set a two-week trial beginning Sept. 23.

Nicole Followill, 30, has been in Douglas County Jail on $1 million bail since the Dec. 2, 2013, shooting that occurred at the home she shared with victim Justin Richard Thrift, 33.

Thrift, a Marine veteran of the war in Iraq, was shot once in the head with a 9 mm Glock. He died instantly, according to reports.

Followill claimed Thrift had beaten her, and she was evicting him from the house after an argument when the shooting occurred. Her face was bruised and swollen when she was arrested.

According to court documents Followill admitted firing the weapon, but said it was in self-defense.

At a coroner’s inquest in January, jurors determined that Thrift died by criminal means, and ruled against justifiable homicide.

Followill was ordered to stand trial following a preliminary hearing in East Fork Justice Court on March 28.

She is represented by lawyer Derrick Lopez.

District Attorney Mark Jackson said the state was not pursuing the death penalty.

An open murder charge allows a jury to determine the degree. Jurors would be instructed on first-degree, second-degree, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

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The Record Courier Updated Apr 22, 2014 12:44PM Published Apr 16, 2014 01:26PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.