Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 21, 2013

Police charge man with assisting suicide

Affidavit: Man fashioned noose for estranged wife.

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

— A Greentown man has been charged with a felony after police said he fashioned a noose for his troubled, estranged wife, who later committed suicide.

Nicholas E. Ellis, 34, was arrested Friday on a warrant in connection with the death of Jessica R. Ellis, who was found dead at Darrough Chapel Park on the morning of Dec. 10.

According to police, a friend of Jessica Ellis, Rheadawn Dobbs, spoke with Jessica twice about arguments Jessica was having with her estranged husband.

On Dec. 6, Jessica Ellis told Dobbs that after an argument, Nick Ellis “told her that he tied a noose knot in a rope and put it in the back of [Jessica Ellis’ vehicle] so that she could use it on herself if she wanted to,” according to the police affidavit filed in Howard Superior Court IV.

Dobbs told police that the night before her body was found, Jessica Ellis said she’d had another fight with Nick Ellis and he’d reminded her about the noose he’d fashioned.

The next morning a man walking his dog found Jessica Ellis’ body hanging from the rafter of a shelter house at the park.

Friends and family members said the victim had a history of suicide attempts, according to the police statements.

A warrant for Nick Ellis’ arrest was issued Jan. 22. Police requested prosecutors consider felony charges ranging from causing suicide, assisting suicide and criminal recklessness.

Prosecutors eventually decided against the most serious recommended charge — causing suicide — which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. They also dropped the least serious charge, criminal recklessness. Assisting suicide in Indiana is punishable by up to eight years in prison.

Wednesday he was arrested at a house in Greentown on the warrant. During the arrest, police also charged Ellis with marijuana possession.

Ellis was being held at the Howard County jail Thursday on $15,000 bond, 10 percent allowed, on the assisting suicide charge, and on $10,000 bond, 10 percent allowed, on the marijuana charge.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

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