Weatherford Democrat

October 29, 2012

Man pleads guilty in Reno killing

Christin Coyne

PARKER COUNTY — A man charged in the February 2009 shooting death of 38-year-old Tracy Lee Nickel pleaded guilty this week to manslaughter.

Caden Hodges Newell, 31, reportedly shot and killed the Reno man during a fight over guns.

Originally charged with 1st degree murder, or intentionally or knowingly killing Nickel, Newell pleaded guilty to the lesser-included charge of 2nd degree felony manslaughter, or recklessly causing the death of Nickel, according to Assistant District Attorney Robert DuBoise.

Given all the circumstances of the case, they felt the manslaughter plea was the right thing, DuBoise said.

"We believe that Mr. Newell had a very strong self-defense and defense of a third party claim," Reagan Wynn, attorney representing Newell, said.

Newell has been free on $75,000 bond since turning himself to authorities on March 2, 2009.

 According to earlier news reports, Newell is believed to have shot Nickel during an altercation at a residence in the 4500 block of East Highway 199 in Reno on Feb. 28, 2009.

Lucas Ryan Doyle, of Fort Worth, reportedly told investigators that he asked Newell to go with him to Nickel’s residence to confront Nickel about guns reportedly taken from an aquaintance of Doyle’s in Fort Worth.

Doyle, described as 6-feet, 6 inches tall, weighing 250 pounds, reportedly admitted to striking Nickel multiple times with a mop handle he found outside on the porch, and was stabbed in the stomach by Nickel.

After Newell reportedly shot Nickel, Newell and Doyle fled in Newell’s car.

Nickel was transported to Harris Methodist Hospital in Azle, where he died.

Nickel’s death was ruled a homicide by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner as a result of gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.

Doyle was found by authorities the following day at a residence in Azle after an aquaintance reportedly picked him up and cleaned and bandaged his wound.

Newell reportedly implicated himself to the same aquaintance during a phone call.

Another man at the residence at the time of the shooting told authorities that he was with two women who came with him to the residence to use methamphetamines.

Newell faces two to 20 years in prison on the manslaughter charge and is expected to be sentenced Nov. 6 in the 415th District Court.

Newell is expected to received a 10 year sentence.

According to court records, Doyle, originally charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, pleaded guilty in the case in 2010 and received 10 years deferred adjudication, including probation and a $2,000 fine. However, a motion to revoke probation was filed earlier this year.