Harry Nicks Alabama Death Row

harry nicks alabama

Harry Nicks was sentenced to death by the State of Alabama for the murder of a man during a robbery. According to court documents Harry Nicks would force two employees of a pawn shop to lie on the floor after robbing the store. Harry Nicks would shoot both of the employees in the back of the head. The man, Robert Back, would die from his injuries however the woman would survive. Harry Nicks would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death

Harry Nicks 2021 Information

AIS: 0000Z444
Institution: HOLMAN PRISON

Harry Nicks More News

This case arises out of an incident which occurred on March 5, 1983, in the Bessemer Pawn Shop at 315 N. 19th Street, Bessemer, Alabama. The pawn shop was owned and operated by Robert and Isadore Back. At approximately 2:30 p.m., a black male entered the shop. He was wearing a red vinyl jacket, blue jeans, and a clear plastic shower cap on his head. He had acne scars on the right side of his face. He was carrying a red canvas tote bag which had a white shoulder strap. Robert Back and an employee, Debra Lynn Love, were in the shop at the time. The man approached Back and said, “Man, I need some money. I got to get out of town quick.” He then pulled a pistol from the tote bag, pointed it at Back, and told Love not to move. Back took money from a cash drawer and put it in the tote bag. The robber demanded more money. He demanded “big bucks,” and continuously called Back a “god damned old man” and “mother fucking old man.” He threatened to kill Back and pulled a second pistol from the bag. Back took money from a second cash drawer and put it in the bag. The robber demanded more money. He wanted “big bucks” and “big bills.” He ordered Love to lie on the floor and she complied. Back opened the cash drawer in the safe and handed more money to the robber and told him, “This is all I have.” The robber ordered Back to lie next to Love on the floor. As Back and Love lay face down on the floor, the robber fired three shots. One shot entered the back of Love’s head; one entered the back of Back’s head, penetrating his brain; and one went into a rubber mat on the floor. Back either died instantly or in a matter of minutes from the bullet wound to his head; however, the bullet fired into Love’s head lodged in her skull and she survived. As soon as Love heard the robber leave the shop, she telephoned the police, giving them a detailed description of the robber. *1021 Subsequently, Love identified appellant, in two lineups conducted by the police, as the person who robbed the pawn shop and shot Back and her. She also made a positive in-court identification of appellant.

Venita Bishop was working as a cashier in a nearby store on the date of the incident. She observed a black male, fitting the description of the robber, in her store around 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. Subsequently, she identified appellant, in a lineup, as the person she observed in the store where she worked on the day of the incident. She also made a positive in-court identification of appellant.

A firearms expert determined that two of the bullets fired by the robber were .22 caliber and fired from the same gun. The two pistols displayed by the robber were never found. The autopsy performed on Back’s body disclosed stippling, or powder burns, around the wound to the back of his head, indicating that the pistol from which the shot was fired was very close to his head, probably within two inches.

Harry Nicks did not testify in his own behalf during the guilt phase of the trial. He called only two witnesses: Dr. Clifford B. Hardin, a psychiatrist, and Gordon Burkhead, his landlord, in support of his insanity plea.


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