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Man held in shooting

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for today (Wednesday) for an Ermine man who is charged with breaking into a West Whitesburg home and shooting the boyfriend of his estranged wife.

James Edward Nichols, 33, of Ermine, is charged with first-degree assault, first-degree burglary, three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Authorities say Nichols shot 42- year-old Paul Richard Fields in the head with a .22-caliber firearm as Fields was sitting around a kitchen table with Nichols’s wife Tabitha and other friends.

Kentucky State Police say the shooting occurred around 11:10 p.m. on Nov. 17 after James Nichols home on Susan Cook Drive that was being rented by Fred Eversole. Eversole and Stephanie Fuller were also at the table, according to an arrest citation written by Kentucky Police Detective Randy Combs.

Sources familiar with the case say Eversole was able to take the gun away from Nichols before more shots were fired. Nichols was arrested at scene at about 11:28 p.m.

Richard Fields was taken to Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn., for treatment of injuries he received. He was listed critical but stable condition after undergoing several hours of extensive oral surgery, a family member said on Monday.

Paul Brandon Fields, a halfbrother to Paul Richard Fields, said the four people were sitting at the table playing cards when Nichols broke into the home and began shooting.

Nichols was being held without bond in the Letcher County Jail this week. The preliminary hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. in Letcher District Court.

Court records show that in June 2006, Nichols was convicted of first-degree wanton endangerment, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence while on a suspended license (third offense), first-degree wanton endangerment, first-degree fleeing/evading police, and leaving the scene of an accident. He was also convicted of having no insurance, failure to produce insurance card, no/expired registration plate and no/expired Kentucky registration receipt.

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