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Killing revisited

January 13, 2008 |  8:46 pm



Sylvan C. Diamond writes of the Felicitas Nicholson case:

1957_0720_heidi I covered the Nicholson trial as a reporter for the all news radio station in Riverside, KACE. (No longer there).

I was allowed by presiding Superior Court Judge John Gabbert to record and air the entire proceedings of the trial.

It was the first time ever that such proceedings were broadcast. (Long before O.J.)

I was also first to break the story of the Heidi Nicholson's murder.

I was in the office of the head of the Uniform Division of the Riverside County Sheriff's Office when the call came in regarding the murder.

Robert Pressley (later a State Senator) the sheriff in charge, allowed me to accompany him to the scene of the crime.

From that point forward I reported the investigation and proceedings of the case from start to finish.

It is my understanding that Felicitas Nicholson was eventually released and moved to San Bernardino where she committed suicide.

I do not have the tapes since they were the property of Ray Lapica's (former UPI rewrite man) radio station K-ACE when it was on the air in Riverside.

He eventually sold the station and earned a law degree at USC. Last I read,the call letters belonged to a Jazz station in Santa Monica :-(

Side bar. Judge John Gabbert (as I understand it) is the son of the founder of The Riverside Press Enterprise newspaper. It was his contention that more people should be made aware of court proceedings other than the 40 or so who could crowd into his courtroom.

Therefore, he agreed to allow me to place my mic next to his at the witness stand. (Yes. He recorded his own trials). The recording equipment was placed out of sight in his adjoining chambers.

At that time, I believe, allowing the broadcast was a violation of Judicial Canon 13(Whatever that was). None of the privileged exchanges at the bench were broadcast but everything else was fair game.

Judge Gabbert may have received "a slap on the wrist" for his courageous, pioneering stance but no other penalties.