A former Oklahoma senator has reportedly been found dead at his home, having allegedly suffered a gunshot wound. This makes the victim the second GOP ex-politician to be found, shot dead, in less than 48 hours.
Former state senator Jonathan Nichols’ body was found at his home in west Norman on Wednesday, just before 9 p.m. Local police confirm that they also found a gun placed on a table in the same room, per The Oklahoman. As reported by The Daily Mail, the 53-year-old was a former Assistant District Attorney who also served as a member of the Oklahoma Senate from 2001 to 2013, and he left behind his wife and two children.
“Based on officers that arrived on scene, it was clear there was an apparent gunshot wound,” stated Norman Police Department’s public information officer Sarah Jensen, as per KFOR, although she did not confirm if the rumors that a gun had been found nearby were true or not.
Many Norman residents paid tribute to the Republican politician, including his successor, Senator Rob Standridge.
“Senator Jonathan Nichols was the most brilliant political, legal mind in the Oklahoma State Legislature, and worked tirelessly as a senator and for years on staff to help guide our state forward. Jonathan was a great friend, a mentor, a confidant, and was always there for me in whatever situation I was in,” Standridge said in a statement, according to NONDOC.
Former Oklahoma state Sen. Jonathan Nichols, 53, found shot dead in his home.— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 7, 2019
His death comes just one day after former Arkansas state Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, 56, was found fatally shot. Police eye homicide in her death.https://t.co/vTACEYn7b0
The Norman Police Department also confirmed that they had no suspects so far, and that no arrests had been made. Nichols’ death comes just after another ex-senator was found shot dead in her home, this time in Arkansas. Former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins-Smith was found dead at her house in Pocahontas on Tuesday, although the time of death is still unknown. She was found wrapped in a blanket, and police are reportedly looking at her case as a murder investigation.
As reported by USA Today, Collins-Smith’s neighbors “heard gunshots a couple of days” prior to her body being found. She was a keen social media user, and the fact that she hadn’t posted anything since May 28 also raised suspicions.
The former state senator was known for introducing the controversial “bathroom bill” during her time in the senate, legislation which stipulated that individuals should use the bathrooms that corresponded to the gender on their birth certificate, causing a major uprising in the LGBTQ community. The politician had been married to former Circuit Court Judge Philip Smith before their 2018 divorce.