Man pleads guilty to manslaughter for shooting single mother, burning her body

Thayon Samson

Lindsay Nichols

NEW ORLEANS – A man accused of killing a woman and stuffing her body in the trunk of her car before setting the car on fire has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Thirty-three-year-old Thayon Samson also pled guilty to second-degree kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and solicitation for murder on September 7, just before his trial was about to begin for the 2015 murder of 31-year-old Lindsay Nichols.

Nichols, a single mother with a 9-year-old child, left a nightclub on Downman Road with Samson around 4 a.m. on June 21, 2015, and made a frantic 911 call about 45 minutes later, according to District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro.

The dispatcher that received Nichols’ emergency call later resigned after it was determined the dispatcher failed to notify police that Nichols said she was being held at gunpoint.

Firefighters found Nichols’ body stuffed into the trunk of her burned out Honda Accord in New Orleans East the next morning.

She had been shot several times.

A partially burned pair of exercise shorts found in the trunk next to Nichols’ body belonged to Samson and contained his DNA, leading to his arrest.

“This truly was one of the most horrific crimes seen in New Orleans in recent years,” Cannizzaro said. “While this guilty plea cannot bring this young woman back to her loved ones, it does at least spare them the agony of hearing her anguished final moments recounted at trial. I’m proud of the work that NOPD detectives and our diligent prosecutors put forth to bring this killer to justice.”

Samson will spend the next 40 years in state prison without benefit of probation, parole or suspension of sentence.

Thirty-year-old Troy Varnado Jr., Samson’s co-defendant, will stand trial on September 17 on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree kidnapping, obstruction of justice, and accessory after the fact to second-degree murder.