A&E series delves into murder of Des Allemands mother

Nichols story will be shown Thursday on ‘First 48’

Just discussing the preview of “The First 48” episode about her daughter’s 2015 murder brought Jolene Dufrene to tears, but she watched the television show because she supports any effort to tell her story.

“Just the clip I saw was pretty disturbing,” Dufrene said. “To see and hear it validates it. The detective said she died such a horrible death. I knew that, but they also showed a clip with her hard hat from work and it was hard.”

Lindsay Nichols’ murder case aired in the episode, “A Lonely Place” Thursday (March 10) on A&E.

When New Orleans detectives verified it was Dufrene’s daughter they’d found dead in a burning car in a remote area at the intersection of Michoud and Lake Forest boulevards in New Orleans, Dufrene said the film crew was on the scene. She met with people with First 48 as detectives investigated the case, as well as saw the film crew at a balloon release held in Nichols’ memory.

“It’s all actual stuff,” she said of the First 48 episode about her daughter’s murder. “It’s the real deal.”

Detectives advised her to expect a lot of tough information to come out now and into the trial, which has not been scheduled yet. She is hoping The First 48 episode will ease her into understanding what happened to her daughter.

Dealing with the court process has been incredibly difficult for this mother, but she hopes the show also brings “awareness of New Orleans and how bad it is over there … the violence in the city.”

Nichols’ death came on a busy Father’s Day weekend for New Orleans police, who were already investigating an Upper Ninth Ward murder-suicide involving an officer’s parents, searching for accused cop killer Travis Boys and responding to the separate killings of an Avondale music promoter and a Navy veteran.

While it’ll be especially difficult for her to watch this show, Dufrene said she is determined to learn whatever she can about what happened to her daughter and what might be done to flesh out more evidence in the case.

“I feel I need to know everything I can find out … what escalated to the point it became so brutal,” she said. “I’m always going to be wondering if she could have been saved.”Around 4:45 a.m. on June 21, 2015 Nichols, 31, placed a frantic call to a 911 operator, according to the police report. She requested emergency assistance to an apartment complex at Chef Menteur Highway and Downman Road. The report says Nichols told the operator that a man she had only met once before was outside her car, holding her car keys and pointing a gun at her.

As the call progressed, the warrant affidavit says, “an irate male subject’s voice became audible and he began to scream profanities at her, accusing her of providing his address to another subject; (Nichols) moaned and sounded as if she were being attacked.”

That was the last anyone heard from Nichols.

Around 7 a.m. that morning, she was found shot to death in the trunk of her burning black Honda Accord at the intersection in East New Orleans. She had recently returned to Des Allemands from her job in Texas and bought a new mobile home for her and her son. Nichols went out to a New Orleans East bar with friends to celebrate, but was found dead the next morning.

In July, the New Orleans Police Department arrested and booked Thayon Samson, 30, on a count of second-degree murder with bail set at $2.5 million. Samson lives less than a mile away from where Nichols was found, according to court documents.

NOPD Homicide Detective Rob Barrere placed Samson at the murder scene with cell phone data and DNA results from a unique pair of basketball shorts found inside the charred car and also worn by Samson in a photo found on his Instagram account.

“It won’t help me or Lindsay, but it’ll help people realize what happened,” Dufrene said of telling Nichols’ story. “I have mixed feelings about it, but I want people to be aware.”

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