October 20, 2014

Elyria
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Nicole Diar agrees to serve life in prison

ELYRIA — Convicted killer Nicole Diar has agreed to serve life in prison without parole for the 2003 murder of her son, according to court documents filed today.

Nicole Diar during a break in her 2005 trial. Her sentence was overturned by the state Supreme Court in December 2008. (CT file photo.)

Nicole Diar during a break in her 2005 trial. Her sentence was overturned by the state Supreme Court in December 2008. (CT file photo.)

As part of the deal, prosecutors will no longer push for Diar, 34, to return to death row during a hearing before a three-judge panel next week.

“We’ve conferred with her and she is in agreement with those terms and we fully expect the hearing to go forward,” said Kreig Brusnahan, one of Diar’s attorneys.

County Prosecutor Dennis Will said he couldn’t comment extensively on any deal with Diar until after next week’s hearing, but he confirmed that the “preliminary discussions” between prosecutors and defense attorneys centered on a life sentence.

Diar’s death sentence from was thrown out in 2008 by the Ohio Supreme Court because the judge during her 2005 trial failed to tell jurors considering whether to recommend the death penalty that any single juror could prevent the death sentence and instead force his fellow jurors to consider a life prison term.

Diar has denied having any involvement in the death of her 4-year-old son, Jacob Diar, whose charred body was pulled from the Lorain home they shared after a fire.

Exactly how Jacob died has remained a mystery, but prosecutors argued during the trial that Diar torched her house to cover up the crime.

Diar had a history with fire — when she was 4 years old her nightgown caught on fire, leaving her with scars and a large settlement.

Under the terms of the agreement that Diar will have to officially accept next week, both prosecutors and defense attorneys will present evidence in the case to the three-judge panel, which consists of Visiting Judge Judith Cross and Lorain County Common Pleas Court judges Raymond Ewers and Christopher Rothgery.

A defendant in a capital murder case can request a three-judge panel to hear her case instead of a jury.

Diar remains in the Ohio Reformatory for Women, where she is kept in the prison’s general population. While she was on death row, she had been held in virtual isolation.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.