A Snohomish County Superior Court jury on Tuesday convicted David Nieuwenhuis of second-degree murder for the November 2018 death of Candice Black at his residence in Mountlake Terrace.
Shortly before 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2018, Nieuwenhuis called 911 to report that he had hit the girlfriend of his deceased son approximately two hours before, that she was lying unconscious outside his home, and that he thought he may have killed her.
Mountlake Terrace police found the 29-year-old Black’s body lying face down at the base of the residence’s driveway, located in the 23600 block of 53rd Avenue West. She was nonresponsive and observed to have extensive injury to the back of her head and surrounded by a pool of blood.
Adjacent to Black’s body on the ground was an approximately 39-inch-long wooden club with a bulbous end. A number of metal screw heads protruded from the surface of the “striking” end of the club. Blood and hair were found adhered to the club’s striking end and on its shaft.
Nieuwenhuis told police that his 25-year-old son Kyle Johnson, who had lived in his home along with Black, had died the previous week from a drug overdose. He said both his son and Black used heroin and methamphetamine and that Black was present at the time of the overdose — and he blamed her for his son’s death.
According to court documents, when doctors at Swedish Edmonds explained the son’s grim prognosis to Nieuwenhuis, Black and family that night he went into a rage directed at her. Witnesses reported Nieuwenhuis had told Black that it was all her fault, charged and swore at her, and yelled that she is the one who should be dead.
He then contacted Black on the afternoon of Nov. 11 and told her to come over to his house to remove her belongings, which he threw into the front yard prior to her arrival. Black and two of her friends took a bus from Seattle to Mountlake Terrace to get her belongings. But according to one of those friends, while enroute, Black said Nieuwenhuis told her she had to come alone.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., when the friends got off the bus near Nieuwenhuis’ house, the group separated after Black asked her friends to wait for her, saying that she would call them when she was ready to leave. Later, Black’s friends eventually went home after having not heard from her or receiving any response to text messages they had sent her.
After Black arrived at the house around 4 p.m., Nieuwenhuis told her he had found ledgers that he believed showed that she and Johnson were dealing drugs and that he was going to bring those transaction records to the attention of law enforcement. He said the two had sat in his living room for several hours “just talking and crying, but were not arguing” about drug dealing and use of drugs.
Nieuwenhuis told police that after approximately two hours of discussion, he got up to use the restroom and when he returned to the living room Black had unexpectedly struck him one time in the forehead with her iPad. He then retrieved a large stick that he kept behind his front door for protection and struck her one time with the stick and twice with his hands. Nieuwenhuis stated he does not remember what happened next, but that he “went into a rage,” lost control and that he was in a “fight for his life” with Black when they somehow ended up outside.
He also reported having struck Black at least once with the weapon after she was on the ground in his driveway. Nieuwenhuis said he then went back inside his house and fell asleep. After waking up, he called his mother and then called 911. When asked, he said that he had not gone out to check on Black.
Prosecutors had initially charged the now 46-year-old Nieuwenhuis with second-degree murder for Black’s death, although that charge was later amended in 2019 to premeditated murder in the first degree. Both charges included a domestic violence component because the victim was a family or household member, along with a separate allegation of being armed with a deadly weapon other than a firearm – in this case a wooden club that was embedded with metal screws.
Nieuwenhuis’s trial started April 19 and lasted four days last week, during which he declined to testify.
Sentencing is set for May 9.
— By Nathan Blackwell