The father of Nicole Baukus, Russell, is on the stand today at the request of attorney Michael McDougal. He talked about troopers calling him and telling him she had been in a crash. He said he learned she was intoxicated when he was at the hospital, the same time that he learned of the deaths.
He said she loved to have fun but she was always the designated driver, claiming that she never gets intoxicated. He said he knew she smoked pot once in awhile. All her friends were pretty transparent and didn’t try hiding things from him. He said Nicole was the one her friends looked to when they were messed up, as she was the responsible one.
When asked what the last year has been like, Baukus said it has been like a roller coaster. Nicole was pretty much under house arrest the entire time, even if her bond curfew was only 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. He said he is just happy she is alive, even though she should be dead too. He said he had found a suicide note at one point after the crash, as well as saying that Nicole has begun seeing a therapist immediately after the crash.
Prosecutor Andrew James talked to him about still being able to see his daughter and tell her that he loves her. Baukus stated that he hoped she would be out before he was dead.
James told Baukus that, on his daughters cell phone, she had messages asking to purchase pot from Baukus’ son. He did not know she was buying pot, nor did he know that his son was dealing it. James asked about the text messages between Maygen and Nicole about who to contact to purchase “bars,” which is slang for popular prescription drug Xanax. Baukus said he did not know about that, claiming that Nicole would never do that and that Maygen was lying.
Her former boyfriend was killed in 2007 by an intoxicated driver who was charged with intoxication manslaughter, admitting that Nicole was already aware of the dangers of drunk driving.
Prosecutor James also asked Russell Baukus about his past history and his DWI’s
Blake Holloway was then called to the stand. Blake has known Nicole Baukus for approximately two years and is also a Spring resident. He had seen her indulge before in clubs but never to an extreme. He was at the club the night Nicole was and watched her leave the bar, saying that she was never like that before. He stated he too had several Star F**kers which he described as making you a wide awake drunk. He said over the years he did see her smoke marijuana.
Prosecutor Warren Diepraam asked Holloway how close they were and stated they had been intimate at times. He said the night of the incident he had little communication with her in his one hour at the bar that night. The night of the incident, he and Baukus had little communication due to a tiff they had had. He stated he had seen her intoxicated before. The two of them went out to a few clubs at least once a month. Hollaway said he had seen her smoke marijuana before also.
The first time he heard that she was possibly drugged was just as the trial was starting. He had not seen her in 10 months.
Leslie Pera was then called to the stand. She also lives in Spring. She worked at Pallotta’s, where the family had come to eat often. Baukus had come to her home on one occasion as a designated driver to pick someone up. She first met Nicole on her 21st birthday and was offered a birthday drink which Pera said she refused and asked for dessert instead.
Ladonna Heckathorn testified she knew Nichole a 7 years. She testified she never knew her to do drugs. She also got together several times at home and bars but had only seen her drink to excess once on her 21st birthday, contradicting the testimony of Leslie Pera. She said anytime they had been together, Nicole had never drank to excess and had been a designated driver on several occasions.
She told prosecutor Andrew James she did smoke marijuana. She is close to the family and has been for years. On July 1, she sent a message to Nicole telling her feel free to use Ladonna’s story that stated she had been drugged on the night of the crash after she heard from the family it was a possibility.
Sierra Snowhite testified that she too was from Spring and knew Baukus close to 2 years. She was at On the Rox where she was employed and was to be a Shot Girl for the night, She said the club wasn’t busy so she didn’t stay late the night Baukus was there. She said the ties they went out they would drink but not to extent and at one point when Snowhite was intoxicated at another club she called Baukus for a ride home. She told McDougal she quit On the Rox not long after the crash. She testified she had not seen or heard from Baukus since the crash.
A Houston Police Officer who was a friend of Baukus knew her several months testified they had dinner the night of the crash they had dinner and Baukus then was going to buy a television for her new apartment as he went to work. They had only known each other a short time.
Prosecutor Diepraam asked him about a text message to Baukus about her drinking. She told Hal she was drinking a lot and drank almost every night on the weekend. He discovered later on that she smoked marijuana but was not aware of her taking non prescribed prescription drugs. He was unaware that Baukus had previously plead guilty to minor in possession and to an assault charge.
Ms. Flowers said Baukus was always the responsible one and would come pick friends up if called and they were intoxicated. Flowers said she was there when Baukus left but nobody including herself stopped Baukus from leaving or giving her a ride.
Prosecutor James then confirmed Flowers and Baukus brother were married. Flowers does believe that it was a mistake for Nicole to drive and she also believes that Nicole may have been drugged by one of the men she was flirting with that night, despite the fact that Nicole herself abandoned that plea when she pled guilty.
Melanie Cage testified she lived in the Spring area over 20 years since fall of 2004 and has seen her often. Her son dated Baukus for 7 years until her son was killed. The driver of the car was huffing computer cleaner and crashed. The driver was convicted of intoxication manslaughter.
She said Nicole was also devastated. She said Baukus is a very giving caring person and always respectful while they were around each other.
Maygen Bates who was to be out of town testified earlier in the week out of the presence of the jury said she had been a friend of Baukus since attending school together in Oak Ridge North, but testified against Baukus Tuesday. Bates said she and Baukus had used marijuana and drugs such as Xanax. In exchange for her testimony, Bates testified she had worked out a year’s probation with the prosecution for her own charges for driving while intoxication and possession of marijuana. This after prosecutors showed evidence of several photos from Baukus’ cell phone.
She also identified several photos from the cell phone of Baukus at several clubs also many depicting their use of marijuana. She admitted to smoking marijuana several times a week and used Zanax every few month. They would get marijuana from Baukus brother.
She admitted that in high school they got in a fight and Baukus poured beer on her.
There is no word yet on how long it could be before the jury is able to start deliberating on a sentence for Baukus. She also admitted to a to a black light tattoo on her wrist,”MOB” (money, over bitches) and several other tattoos. She also said shortly after the crash Baukus’ Facebook was deactivated. This is consistent with the audio that was entered into evidence Thursday when Russell Baukus told his daughter on a jailhouse phone call that they were in the process of removing her Facebook page.
It is not known how long before the jury will get the case to decide on punishment.