Andrew Dys

Chester waits for potential charges in death of unborn child

Right next-door, just feet away from where a woman named Brittney Jordan lived with her boyfriend for months, lives Johnny Frye and Donna Starnes. The couple has kids, the youngest just 5, and older kids, even grandkids.

Jordan’s boyfriend, Aris Nichols, who lived for so many months on Pinckney Street in Chester just feet from the Frye’s and Starnes’ children, has been jailed since April 26 for allegedly stabbing Jordan. Jordan’s unborn baby died.

Nichols has been charged with attempted murder, possession of a weapon in a violent crime, and criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.

“I got three sons,” Frye said on Friday, eight days after the stabbing. “When something like this happens, you always think about your kids. And the baby. I have a grandchild.”

Frye described Nichols as a quiet neighbor who kept to himself, even if Nichols sometimes was outside at late hours. Nichols caused his neighbors no trouble, Frye said, and neither did Jordan, the stabbing victim.

Starnes, a mother and grandmother herself, said that Britney Jordan was “all belly,” in her several months of pregnancy: “She is just a tiny thing.”

Britney Jordan had some newborn baby clothes already and was looking forward to the new baby, Starnes said.

The police report from the incident shows Jordan as 4 feet 9 inches tall, and about 120 pounds. Yet she was several months pregnant at the time of the incident.

Nichols, listed as 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 150 pounds, was “short but muscular,” said Frye, the neighbor.

The couple has two other small children, but those children were not at home during the incident, police have said.

The attempted murder warrant against Nichols alleges that sometime between 8:30 a.m. and just after 1:30 p.m. – when police were alerted of the stabbing by a different neighbor – Nichols stabbed Jordan in the face and neck. The police report from the incident states that when officers arrived, Nichols was inside the mobile home, and Jordan was in a bedroom, bleeding from what is described as a “severe laceration.”

She was airlifted to a hospital. Her family has said, as late as Thursday evening, her condition had improved.

The autopsy on the unborn baby, a boy named Tavaris Jordan, has been done but testing results are not yet available, according to the Chester County Coroner’s Office.

Police detectives in Chester said Friday the investigation continues, but declined to talk about the facts of the case –including the time frame of what happened between 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – r what might happen next.

Further, Doug Barfield, 6th Circuit Solicitor, said Friday that nothing had changed as authorities await autopsy results and other information. South Carolina has criminal laws specific to unborn children, but it remains unclear what new charges might be filed, if any, when autopsy results are revealed.

“The defendant is charged with attempted murder, and the other charges, concerning the adult female victim,” Barfield said.

Legal experts have said that depending on what the autopsy shows, Nichols could face charges up to murder concerning the unborn child.

After Nichols was charged with attempting to murder Brittney Jordan, her stepmother, Lakisha Jordan, said the family was pleased but wants a murder charge concerning the baby.

Nichols, 39, has previous convictions and served prison terms for drugs, burglary and aggravated assault. He remains in the Chester County jail without bond.

Barfield, like police, again declined to discuss what evidence authorities have that prompted prosecutors to seek arrest warrants signed by a magistrate that increased the initial charge of domestic violence to attempted murder.

Nichols’ lawyer, Mike Lifsey, 6th Circuit Chief Public Defender, could not be reached Friday. But since his appointment to Nichols’ case a week ago, Lifsey has declined to comment on the pending charges – nd any potential charges – ther than to say his office will conduct an independent investigation.

Yet Nichol’s stabbing of Jordan, and the death of her unborn child, remain difficult for neighbors Johnny Frye and Donna Starnes, even if Jordan and Nichols apparently were quiet and kept to themselves.

Starnes, that mother and grandmother whose home is just feet from the Jordan home, knows the anticipation and work of expecting a baby. Whatever violence happened inside that mobile home has Frye and Starnes wondering what the police and prosecutors will do about it.

“It is just awful to think about,” Starnes said. “That girl, so little she was, and that baby, and now all this. It just seems to keep on getting worse.”