CALHOUN COUNTY, Mich.- The jury in the Shawn Pike murder trial took only 15 minutes to find him guilty of stabbing a young Calhoun County mother 87 times.
Nicole Gates was found dead July 23 at the Citgo Gas Station she worked at on M-89 in Bedford Township.
Gates met Pike, 30, on Facebook one month earlier. He confessed to the killing, but the defense attempted to convince the jury Nicole was an accessory to the robbery, asking for a second degree murder conviction for Pike.
It’s been an emotional journey for Gates’ family. They’d hoped for a quick verdict after the three-day trial.
“The defendant killed her in the process of taking cigarette, beer, and lotto tickets from the store," Calhoun County Assistant Prosecutor Tammy Towns said during the trial. "She was trying to call to stop this and he stabbed her 87 times."
Gates’ family says the trial answered the questions they desperately needed about her violent death. Family members left the courtroom several times as the reality was too much to bear.
“I think [the prosecutor] proved that my daughter was not an accessory to the robbery, that she was killed trying to defend her job,” said Nicole's mother, Wendy Gates.
In a taped confession, Pike said he thought Gates was going to call police when she reached for the 911 button in the gas station. He then stabbed her until his knife broke.
"She never made it through the phone call, but she was pushing a number and said she was calling, and I stabbed her in her right arm and her phone dropped. I just kept going," Pike said in the confession video.
Gates’ family and her small children now have a sense of closure and are determined to make sure Shawn Pike spends the rest of his life behind bars.
“A wonderful beautiful young woman was taken from us," said Wendy. "Somebody that we’ll never be able to replace. He took that from us. Now take everything away from him.”
Pike now faces life in prison.