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Man accused of siccing pit bull on officer slated for trial


Matthew Nickols

Matthew Nickols



Isabelle Altman



A man accused of setting a pit bull on an animal control officer is scheduled for trial during the Lowndes County Circuit Court session that begins today. 


Matthew Nickoles was indicted for aggravated assault against a law enforcement officer in 2015. According to court documents, Alex Jones, an animal control officer with the Columbus Police Department, arrived at Nickoles' residence on Matson Road on Feb. 3, 2015, to tell Nickoles he had to keep his pit bulls tied up. Nickoles allegedly let one of his pit bulls out of the house to attack Jones. 


The dog bit Jones on the upper thigh, though the court documents did not say how serious his injuries were. But when Nickoles saw the dog had attacked Jones, he allegedly closed the door and did not offer to help the officer. 


Other defendants expected to go to trial this week include Curtis Clay, Jr., 21, Mark Coffey, 27, and Joseph Ervin, 25, according to District Attorney Scott Colom. 


Clay faces an armed robbery charge. In May 2016, at age 19, he allegedly robbed the Creekstone Chevron on Highway 45 North with two other Columbus teenagers, according to previous reporting by The Dispatch. 


Coffey faces an aggravated assault charge for allegedly shooting into a car and injuring a 16-year-old girl on Main Street in December 2015. 


The victim and two other people had been at the Suds & Duds at about 2 a.m., according to previous reporting by The Dispatch. There they saw Coffey, who began arguing with one of the three. The victim and her companions all got into the vehicle. As the vehicle began to drive off, Coffey allegedly fired four shots, two of which hit the vehicle. 


The victim was hit in the upper back. She was treated and released from Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. 


Ervin stands accused of statutory rape for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 23, according to court documents. 


None of the defendants' attorneys returned calls to The Dispatch by press time.




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