Trial begins for former FSU student accused of murdering mom, stepfather

Investigations

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A murder trial for Nicole Nachtman, 24, started Monday at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa.

The former Florida State University student is in court, accused of the 2015 murders of her mother, Myriam Carey Dienes, 56, and her stepfather, Robert Dienes, 67. They lived in Carrollwood Village.

Jury selection started Monday and could go a few days.

At a pretrial hearing in January, attorneys for Nachtman presented evidence that she is a victim of “battered child syndrome.”

The bodies of her mother and stepfather were discovered at 9:26 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2015, when deputies responded to a 911 call about multiple shots fired at 14108 Fennsbury Drive.

Deputies found the body of Myriam Dienes in the driveway and then found the body of Robert Dienes inside a nearby home.

During the pretrial hearing, defense attorney’s questioned University of South Florida Professor Kathleen Heide about Nicole Nachtman’s childhood and relationship with her parents.

An expert on parental murder, Heide pointed out it accounts for less than two percent of all homicides.

Dr. Heide spent hours interviewing Nachtman for the trial and says she was abused physically and mentally by her mother.

“She goes over these incidents of physical abuse by her mom, the same incidents and perseverate, that means she just keeps going over and over it and every time it’s like fresh. When I say fresh she’s sobbing, she’s upset, sometimes she’s angry,” said Heide, who also says she was abused by her mother for years.

“I think Nicole was subjected and endured multiple types of abuse,” Heide said.

The trial is scheduled for two weeks. Jury selection continues Tuesday.

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