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Sex offender sentenced for stealing electricity in plea deal

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Walla Walla County Courthouse

A Walla Walla man was sentenced to probation Monday in Walla Walla County Superior Court for third-degree theft after taking a plea bargain to dismiss an indecent exposure charge.

Michael A. Nichols, 62, was arrested Dec. 13 in Fort Walla Walla Park, next to the BMX bike track, after an officer allegedly saw him naked in his car except “a loosely crumpled blanket over his torso,” records stated.

His original charges were indecent exposure and third-degree theft, but he made a plea agreement with prosecutors to have the first charge dismissed.

Nichols was sleeping in the driver’s seat, records stated, with a heating pad underneath him, which was hooked up to the city’s electricity. A sleeping bag and pile of clothes were inside the car, records stated, but his body was uncovered in 43-degree weather.

Nichols is a registered sex offender. He was convicted in 2000 in Walla Walla of first-degree child molestation, records stated.

He also has numerous other convictions.

On Monday, Judge Scott Wolfram sentenced Nichols to 364 days in jail, with 360 suspended and credit for four days already served; one year of probation; to-be-determined restitution; $250 in fines and fees; no contact with any city parks; and no alcohol/drug consumption.

Emily Thornton can be reached at or 509-526-8325.

Emily Thornton covers courts and emergency services, as well as other various stories. She has been in the newspaper industry off and on since roughly 1999 and lived primarily on the West Coast, but also Florida and Europe.