HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Tuesday marked the second day of the murder trial of a former Huntsville nurse accused of killing her husband through insulin poisoning.
Marjorie Nicole Cappello, also known as Nikki, is charged with murdering Jim Cappello in 2018.
Thus far, the prosecution has called 11 witnesses to the stand to testify about Jim Cappello’s death and the events surrounding it. This case initially started as a missing persons report to the Huntsville Police Department, but days later, officers found Jim dead in his own garage.
Among the 11 witnesses called by prosecutors was Nikki’s best friend Ashley; Jim’s coworker Laura, whom he had an affair with; and Jim’s sister, Jamie. As well as six law enforcement officers who worked the case.
Nikki Cappello’s friend Ashley testified Nikki spoke with her about killing her husband prior to his death, specifically by using insulin. Ashley said she thought at the time Nikki was kidding, claiming she spoke often about her unhappiness at home.
News 19 learned that Jim was having an affair with his coworker, Laura Burks. She took the stand to lay out the state’s argument that Nikki poisoned Jim with insulin, which would have been deadly since he was not diabetic.
Huntsville Police officers did find syringes in Nikki’s nightstand. The defense says for a jury to convict Nikki with murder, the state has to prove Jim died from insulin.
Jim’s sister Jamie is also a nurse and testified to her brother’s health, his symptoms before he died, and how insulin is administered.
Shields Woods, a private investigator that worked with Jim for two years, testified that he was aware that Jim was building a case against Nikki for her alleged opioid addiction in order to get custody of their daughter. Woods stated that Jim asked for his help to build that case, but then shut it down after being advised not to make his own case.
The last time Woods spoke with Jim, he said, was around 11 a.m. the Wednesday before he died. Woods testified that Jim was incoherent and was slurring his speech. During cross-examination, Woods said the way Jim was talking seemed like he had symptoms of a concussion.
Woods suggested to him that he should go see a doctor, and Jim told him that Laura would be taking over the cases and talking to clients. Woods testified he didn’t hear Jim complaining about not feeling well before that day.
During her testimony, Laura Burks described Jim’s routine and how their work relationship turned into a friendship and eventually a romantic affair that started around a year before he went missing. Burks told the court Jim had “unmet needs.”
Burks said Jim called her to say he wasn’t feeling well and that she would need to take over the cases for that day. She said he was incoherent, leading her to get mad, hang up and tell him to text her instead. The last text she sent to Jim read, “you’re going to have to text.”
The next texts to him Burks sent were on Thursday evening, saying, “I hope you’re alive,” and, “I drove by your house and both cars are there so I hope that means you’re not in the hospital.”
During the testimony of Nikki’s friend Ashley Stricklin, she said Nikki had mentioned killing her husband multiple times, mentioning how if insulin were used the authorities wouldn’t know because it absorbs into the body after a few days. Stricklin said she never contacted the police over the comments because she thought Nikki was kidding saying, “When you are in a bad marriage, you kid about ways to get out.”
Stricklin testified that she met with Nikki at their home on Saturday, for an outing with the kids. She said the home was a mess when it was usually kept clean and there was a rotting smell in the house. Stricklin told the court that she asked Nikki, “Did you do this?” and Nikki told her “No.”
Stricklin told the court, “I never thought Jim was missing, I knew in my heart that Jim was dead.”
Through the testimony of six law enforcement officers, body camera footage and sworn accounts, News 19 learned officers failed to make contact with Jim on Thursday during a welfare check. Two days later, Nikki was taken into custody for questioning when his body was found at their home.
The state argues Nikki poisoned Jim, but her defense says there is no physical proof that he died from insulin. Court will start back on Wednesday morning with the jury watching investigators interview Nikki herself.