Rhonda Wurst testifies in GC kidnapping trial


GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Testimony began Tuesday in the terrorism trial of a Garden City man accused of kidnapping a judge. Jason Nichols is charged with terrorism, kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal threat.

The judge’s wife, who was there during the incident, testified today. Rhonda Wurst said she woke up to a loud knock on her door at 7 a.m. in May of last year. Her husband Wendel answered the door, and after hearing a muffled conversation, she went to see what was happening.

She testified that she found her husband lying on the floor of their home by the front door with his hands zip-tied behind him by a man her husband identified as Jason Nichols.

“I was scared, he had a gun,” said Rhonda from the witness stand. “He was pointing it at Wen, and I don’t remember if he ever pointed it at me, to be honest.”

She said she was never tied up herself and was eventually allowed to leave the house, but she testified about what Nichols said about why he was there.

“He was upstairs, where he said, ‘I’m making a citizen’s arrest.'”

That backs up the defense’s opening statement.

Nichols’ defense attorneys say that Nichols was upset because the state was garnishing his wages over a previous tax year, and he believed he was making a lawful citizen’s arrest against the judge.

It was an emotional testimony from Rhonda Wurst. She said at the time, she was planning her daughter’s wedding. She recalled that Nichols said her husband would be able to walk his daughter down the aisle.

The trial continues tomorrow morning, when Judge Wurst is expected to take the stand.

An employee with the Department of Revenue also testified that when Nichols was told he could have his wages garnished and property seized, he responded by saying, “That’s when the lead will start to fly.”

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