Phil January on his Relationship with Nikki and What He’s Done Since her Death
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We return now to my interview with Phil January, Nikki LaDue January’s husband. Throughout this blog you may have read some allegations and accusations against Phil. Some questioned his relationship with Nikki while other’s believe he knows more than he’s saying about her death. In his own words, the remaining part of our interview.
“I don’t want to get into a war of words,” Phil said. “I know the facts. I know Nikki’s and my relationship and I know the truth. A lot of things coming out came out really late when people weren’t getting answers and I understand that. I’ve got nothing to hide. I searched for answers myself. And when you get shut down, you get shut down.
Phil sent letters to the Harrison County Sherrif’s Office and the Pass Christian Police Department trying to get answers. He also contacted the county coroner, Gary Hargrove who Phil said, “When I asked him about some questions that had come up, Hargrove told me ‘I did my fucking job.’ When I tried to explain I just had a few more questions, he said, ‘I answered your fucking questions.'”
“I bear responsibility for what happened in the fact that I wasn’t there. I made mistakes in not taking Nikki with me the two weeks when I went to Bossier. That and leaving her down there so she was around those people. They’re the ones who destroyed her. That’s my mistake. I thought that once she came clean 3 months earlier, there was no indication that anything was going on. She was the one who said she wanted to stay behind and take care of things while I started working. It was a total mistake on my part. I trusted Nikki. I loved her. I wanted whatever she wanted to be happy. For people to say we just up and decided to move to Bossier City, that’s not even true. Around Memorial Day I flew to Phoenix for a job interview there. We wanted out of Pass Christian. She wanted away from that stuff because she had tried to turn her life away from the drugs.
“I loved Nikki. I still love her. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her more than anything else in the world.”
Phil said he drove back from Bossier City, Louisiana, overnight on July 28 arriving around 9 a.m. on July 29. That’s when he found Nikki on the balcony. You can read more about that day here.
“I think it’s appalling that there were 36 or 39 things that didn’t add up at the scene that no one wanted to hear about. The fact Nikki never went barefoot–I know my own wife. I knew Nikki never went barefoot. She was barefoot on the balcony and there was a brand new pair of shoes in the living room where she had taken them off by the couch. That’s not her. The two packs of cigarettes, I think I even saw in a police report that she had a sweater tied around her neck. I remember telling Bonnie, ‘No she didn’t.’ I remember how she was dressed.”
For the record, I did see the crime scene photos and Nikki did have what appears to be a light blue sweater on with only the top button buttoned.
“People say it will get better,” Phil said. “I tell them, ‘no, I don’t think it will.’ It doesn’t ever get better but you learn to deal with it. I just remember all the joy and love that Nikki and I shared. I know the truth about that. My kids are grown and they were devastated by this too because they finally saw their dad happy. And they knew Nikki made me happy. My daughter had a baby 2 or 3 years ago. And before she was born, she knew it was going to be a girl. And she called me and asked me if it would be ok to name her after Nikki. So her middle name is Nichole because my daughter thought so much of her.”
It’s been more than 9 years since that day in 2002. I asked Phil what he thought happened that night.
“I have 2 possibilities on who did it. People say that Nikki and Mike Williams had a cordial relationship after their divorce. It was anything but. It was very volatile. I never put my hands on Nikki nor would I ever. I loved that woman. I cherished that woman. I do know there were physical confrontations between her and Mike when they split up. I also know, and I saw this myself, he was extremely abusive to her. In fact, when Nikki told him that we were moving, he got really upset and wouldn’t give Zack back to her (Zack is the son of Nikki and Mike Williams). I had to go over there with her. I stopped and talked with the police on the way to let them know what was going on because I knew one of the officers that worked the downtown area. He told me to go over there and talk to Mike. If it goes bad, we’ll have to do something else. I went over there and said, ‘Look Mike, we’re not trying to take Zack from you or get him out of your life. We’ll be making visits and that kind of stuff.’ He finally agreed and calmed down. He was always mad at Nikki about something. I lost everything the day Nikki died. I lost my family. Zack was my family. I gained nothing. There’s only one person who gained anything out of all this and he was the one who was the most abusive to her. In my mind, Mike had the biggest motive. He didn’t have to pay child support anymore and he got Zack. I don’t want you to think I’m the victim. My world was gone.
“And then there’s one other player. Later on, I found out, he supposedly described Nikki and I arguing on the phone numerous times. That only happened once and that was the night she died. That person was Paul Morreale. Bonnie (Nikki’s mother) told me he had the most serious infatuation with Nikki that she’d ever seen. I didn’t know that but I did know Paul was big into the drugs because Nikki told me that when she came clean.”
Paul Morreale and his mother actually owned the condo Phil and Nikki lived in. In fact, Paul moved into it with his wife after Nikki’s death.
As for Nancy Burge, Nikki’s friend who since her death has been reluctant, to say the least, to involve herself in any investigation, Phil doesn’t think she was involved. “I’m not saying Nancy doesn’t know more than she’s ever told,” he said.
“I know people like Bonnie don’t want to look in Mike’s direction because of Zack and I understand that. I really do. But contrary to popular belief, Nikki loved me and I loved her. And there’s never been a doubt about that in my mind. The stuff about her supposedly leaving and having another guy, I don’t believe that for a minute. She may have seen that other guy, but I can tell you it was to get some of the drugs she took that day. I don’t think it had anything to do with her leaving me. I have cards she brought to me while I was in Bossier City, talking about how hard the separation was. Nikki used to always tell me I was her rock and that she felt safe around me. And I let her down. If I had known she was in trouble, I would have been there.”
Posted on November 28, 2011, in Cold Cases, Crime, Murder, Nikki LaDue January and tagged Bonnie LaDue, Cold Cases, Gary Hargrove, Grand Casino, ladue, Mississippi, Murder, Nikki LaDue January, Pass Christian, Phil January, Suicide, Thomas Pustay. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.