SOUTH GATE (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles Unified School District special education teacher’s assistant faces charges of smuggling drugs and cell phones to a death-row inmate convicted of eight murders in Southern California.
Teri Orina Nichols was arrested Thursday at San Quentin State Prison during a visit with serial killer Bruce Millsap.
The 47-year-old Bellflower woman posted bail and is scheduled to return to a Marin County courtroom for arraignment on Sept. 13, according to the Marin Independent Journal.
Prison officials told the newspaper that when questioned about some plastic bags in a trash can, Nichols pulled out a large cloth beanie from under her clothes that held 18 cellphones with chargers, two unidentified blue pills and roughly three ounces of heroin.
“The cell phones were underneath her clothing. There have been some indications that she may have looked pregnant coming into the visiting room. Subsequently when she removed all the items, she was no longer pregnant,” said Lt. Sam Robinson at San Quentin State Prison.
LAUSD officials said Nichols was hired in 1992 as a substitute special education trainee and most recently worked at South East High School in South Gate.
She was reassigned to a non-school site Monday, according to a statement issued by the district that said “Nichols is not a teacher, and these allegations do not involve students.”
Millsap received eight death sentences and is now serving a 200-year sentence for the murder of eight people.
He and co-defendant Kendrick Loot were sentenced to death in 2000 for the robbery-murders of two armored car guards and a third man during a year-long crime spree in 1995-1996.
The known gang member was also convicted of five other killings, including a witness and another armored car guard.
A police investigator said the crew, which included two other men, never gave guards the opportunity to surrender the cash. “They would just sneak up, execute them and take the money,” Detective John Gentzvin said.
Millsap was also charged with trying to take a contract out on the lives of two deputy district attorneys as well as two other witnesses against him. But prosecutors decided not to pursue those allegations.