MERCER COUNTY, Ky (LEX 18) It has been 20 years since Harrodsburg Police Officer Regina Nickles was shot and killed in the line-of-duty, making her the first ever female Kentucky law enforcement officer to be killed on the job. Now, the man convicted of her murder is up for parole.
Mercer County Sheriff Ernie Kelty said he still remembers every minute of the night Regina Nickles was killed.
"I was at home in the bed," he said. "I get the phone call from dispatch that we’ve got two officers under fire."
Kelty was the chief of the Harrodsburg Police Department at that time. He told LEX 18 that he has spent each day of the past 20 years missing his kind and compassionate friend.
"It’ll never go away," he said.
Nickles was investigating a report of a suspicious person in the parking lot of a local factory on October 14, 1998, when she was shot and killed.
John Paul Works was sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole. Now, at the age of 42, he is eligible for release.
"I’m sure there will be people there at the parole hearing that will say well he served his time and that he’s paid for his crime," said Kelty. "Well, what sentence does Regina’s family pay? How long do they serve?"
Kelty has already begun writing the parole board and plans to speak at the hearing in October to explain the magnitude of her loss on a town and a police department the size of Harrodsburg.
“They didn’t get to have their mom at their wedding, and they didn’t get to have their mom when her grandchildren were born, and nobody can replace those things and those are the things I want them to know the most about," said Kelty.
Nickles’ daughter, Christina Crace tells LEX 18 "Regardless of his sentence, my mother’s killer has taken so much from me and so much from our community."
She encourages and welcomes anyone with a store or desire to see her mother’s killer kept behind bards to please send a written statement to the state parole board.
Written statements can be mailed to:
Kentucky Parole Board
Attn: Victim Services
PO Box 2400
Frankfort, KY 40602-2400
Reference Inmate: John Paul Works
County of Conviction: Boyle County
Indictment Number: 99-CR-00049