Lawyers claim former FSU student was battered child as a defense in murder trial

Hillsborough County

Nicole Nachtman, 24, is scheduled to go on trial in late January for the murder of her mother, Myriam Carey Dienes, 56, and her stepfather, Robert Dienes, 67, who lived in Carrollwood Village.

Wednesday, 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.

Attorney’s questioned University of South Florida Professor Kathleen Heide about Nicole Nachtman’s childhood and relationship with her parents.

Heide is an expert on parental murder, which she points out 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,” said Heide.

A Hillsborough judge will decide by the end of the week if he will allow the defense team to use the “battered child defense” during the trial.

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