Phil January Interview with PI (Part 9 and final)

Nikki and her son Zack

Now to the final part of the interview Phil January gave to a Private Investigator back in April 2003. His wife Nikki had been dead for 10 months, ruled a suicide by the Pass Christian, Mississippi police and Harrison County coroner.  For more details, refer to this posting  which chronicles everything from Nikki’s early life to her death. Nikki’s mom hired a private investigator to look into Nikki’s case. As part of that investigation, he interviewed Phil. Phil found Nikki dead on the couple’s balcony after traveling home from Louisiana. He admits they had several phone calls in the early morning up until about 1:30 a.m. and that the phone calls were filled with anger at times. It’s the police and coroner’s assumption that those phone calls caused Nikki to kill herself, disregarding her little boy in the room next to her. Now back to Phil’s interview with the PI. In front of Nikki’s body was a table. We resume the interview there.

Table photo enlarged. Two packs of cigarettes, 2 lighters, the phone handset, ashtray and what Phil says is his holster, what Det. Pustay says is his camera case.

Phil: I remember exactly what was on the table. I didn’t have to study. I remember definitely. It’s going to be with me for the rest of my life.

PI: The cigarettes.

Phil: The cigarettes. The holster.

PI: OK. And and the cigarettes, one of the brands was not hers?

Phil:  They were the same brand, but not what she smoked. She was very particular.

PI: What was the other brand? Marlboro –

Phil: Marlboro Reds.  And hers were Marlboro Medium 100s in a box. And that’s what she smoked. And that’s all she would smoke. There was a little store, right next to there – And if we ran out of cigarettes we normally bought them down in long beach by the carton, but if we ran out I would go buy some out of there they never had the 100s. They would only have the short ones. So I’d go get the short ones, and then when she’d get up, normally she slept late, and she’d smoke one to get by, and then she’d get her ass around and go down to the Long Beach and go buy her own. She would not even smoke the SAME TYPE of cigarette in shorts. She just, she was very particular about that.

PI: And I’ve seen the photographs. I didn’t see anything in her hand. Did you see anything in her hand?

Phil: I don’t remember her hands. That’s a question that has been asked over and over. I can remember everything except her hands.

PI: the pistol?

Phil: I don’t remember seeing – I know where the pistol – I remember seeing –

Pistol Nikki was shot with. She was found sitting on it with the barrel pointing out.

PI: Odd place huh?

Phil: Very odd. And I remember thinking that at the time. And not only that, it’s turned opposite of what, it, to me it’s like looks like somebody in front of her would have placed it. Not what you would have placed it yourself.

PI: Right. Butt – butt facing out.

Phil: Exactly. So you did see the pictures.

PI: Mmhmm. Yeah.

Phil:  I tried to explain to people that you need to put it like a mirror image. And uh, so yeah, I mean. And then I I bring that question up to the police and you see their freaking response to it.

PI: And and and in regards to Pustay (Detective Thomas Pustay, lead investigator), Uhm, did he ever contact y– I mean I I I see your correspondence back and forth between him, but you never met him. Have you ever talked to him telephonicly at all? Or –

Phil: Yes. Yeah. He told me they were they were reopening, they were going to uh subpoena the phone records, and then three days later I get his response to my letter, that I sent. Which is totally opposite of what he told me on the phone. That’s the only time that he ever talked to me on the phone. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever talked to him on the phone.

Coroner Gary Hargrove

PI: OK. And you’ve and you’ve talked to Hargrove (Gary Hargrove, coroner) and Hargrove was…

Phil: Hargrove was a jerk about the whole thing. If I, if I could have reached through the phone, I’d’ve choked him to death. You, there’s just no way that you talk to somebody like that. I don’t care who you are. I’ve done this. I’ve been around it. You don’t talk to somebody in this situation in in that respect whatsoever. I mean he cussed me like a dog.

PI: Now, what we’re talking about too is now uh there was you, Matt, and uhm uh Nancy there. Nanc- now um uh, Mike (Mike Williams, Zack’s father) was called? To pick up Zack?

Phil: I called the casino at some point in time, talked to the shift manager, um, asked if Mike was there, and they said no he had already left. And I said, I think it was Larry Braze the guy, the the guys name and I said well Um I need you to see if you can go you can get a hold of Mike and ask him to come to the condo and pick up Zack.

PI:  OK. So he arrived. The baby sitter. Uh Angela (Angelea Hursell babysat Zack the night before. She said Nikki was in good spirits and happy to see her son). Did she, did she arrive also? Did she –

Phil: Yeah, she did. I have no idea how she had found out.

PI:  OK. And and so so she arrived, and Nancy leaves at some point?

Phil: Um, later on I don’t remember when Nancy left to be honest with you.

PI: Do you remember all the folks that were there? There was I mean at at the most folks that were there at one- any given point, there was, well the folks that were there I mean like you were there the whole time, there was um, there was you, Nancy, Matt, Angela,

Phil: Mike, Paul and my buddy Alan showed up because I called Frank, and Frank called Alan to get Alan over there. To help me out. Before he could get here.

PI: Casey Garret? Did he show up? Casey didn’t show up? (Casey was the man Nikki was said to have been out with the night before).

Phil: Not to my knowledge. I didn’t see him if he did. And I stayed out of sight. Sitting in the car port for the longest time. With with my son and Alan.

PI: Did Mike, did Mike ever show up?

Phil: Yes

PI: uh did you ever talk to Mike? Is what I mean.

Phil: Uh He just came up and asked where Zack was.

PI: And that’s it.

Phil. That’s it.

PI: He didn’t ask how Nikki was or what happened to Nikki or anything regarding Nikki?

Phil: No.

PI: Nothing?

Phil: And he walked back and my son told me he said absolutely nothing to him

PI: He didn’t say nothing to Matt.

Phil: No.

PI: Did anyone say anything to Matt? Did Matt, uh, told you later on did anyone say anything to him?

Phil: No. Actually nobody really said much to him. I don’t think mostly anybody really knew who he was, or, you know he stayed in his truck unless he was standing out there beside me. Now, uh Alan had met him before when he had been down here visiting. So when Alan got there, you know, they they talked I guess. In fact they were both standing by the truck looking at (indistinguishable) at one time it seems.

PI: And you were very upset by all indications and um, you kind of um

Phil: Well they kept me from hurting myself even worse than I did. (Phil was said to have punched a wall)

PI: Um, weeks after that, um, I think by accounts and it could be wrong. Um You had some sort of indication that Paul was there, well, I guess gen- through Zack.

Phil: No I, no I had that the next day.

PI: The next day. That that Paul was there. And by all indications also you were there you wanted to go after Paul.

Phil: When I found out the next morning, I talked to to a guy that’s now working with us up there. And he was working graveyard shift I called him and so I met him outside the property of the Grand. And he told me what what had what he had heard. That that that somebody told him that Paul was seen with Nikki that night.  Um, Paul’s reaction when he pulled up that day, Alan and I, I don’t know if you’ve talked to Alan but Alan and I- Both had the same reaction to Paul’s demeanor when he got there and it was not right. Um, so, yeah. I was upset.

PI: Did he disarm you?

Phil: Hmm?

PI: Did he disarm you. Alan?

Phil: Disarm me?

PI: Did you have a weapon?

Phil: Yeah.

PI: There were no threats towards Paul?

Paul Morrell-said to have been infatuated with Nikki. Phil thought he was with her the night before she died.

Phil: Yeah, but it wasn’t with a weapon. It wasn’t a threat toward Paul. Paul had come over that morning. Alan and my brother Martin had confronted him in the in the thing about some things and they said his reaction was just – so when they told me that I came over there later Tuesday, that would have been Tuesday afternoon. I said call him up, and tell him to come over here we need to talk to him. Just don’t tell him that I’m here.

PI: I can’t really come up with a source where someone said that Alan um, Alan told you to take off or took or took your pistol, from you.

Phil: I don’t have a pistol. I only had the one personal weapon. The other weapon that I talked about had already been turned in when I left that other business.

PI: So that, so that that report was false.

Phil: I don’t I don’t to this day have another weapon. That’s the only weap- personal weapon I ever owned.  I do not have another weapon. Never have had. That’s the only personal weapon I’ve had since I got rid of my deer hunting rifles and shot guns years ago. Years ago.

PI: Yeah OK. OK. Uh, and Al and Alan as you say, to help clean up.

Phil: Yeah and his wife went back over there later. His wife works in the medical field.

PI: Did you look through her stuff to get any sort, any indication, to try to do… and I I’m sure you at that point you believed the police department were doing their job.

Phil: Yes I did.

PI: But did you, you know look through her stuff to see if there was any sort of indication what could have gone wrong, uh, there also was an indication that that uh uh that you erased your hard drive, soon afterwards.

Phil: I had my son do it.

PI: For what reason?

Nikki and her prized possession, her car. Phil drove it after her death.

Phil: I did- I didn’t know, um, I mean, at the time, they say, they found it on the comp-, they didn’t say they found it on the computer, they said they found a note. My thinking was, that if Nikki wrote a note that they found that it was probably on the computer. So I told Matt to go erase everything. I didn’t want to see it. You got to remember at this point I didn’t want to see it. I told him to sell the car. I told him I don’t want this, I don’t want that. Get rid of everything.

PI: OK. Did you, did you sell the car?

Phil: No I’m driving it now.

PI: Oh you’re driving the car now?

Phil: I, luckily, had people around me that when I got back from New York, I still wanted the car sold, and then I looked at it and I couldn’t. So no I still have it. And my son did that (erased the hard drive) at my request. But that was the only reason.

PI: And that, and that is, uh, um, was that because of the, you found out the, or you didn’t know at the time, the police department used a search engine on the computer to find that –

Phil: I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t know –

PI: Pustay claimed he used a search engine to find it.

Phil: He did. I found it later. That’s how I knew.

PI: Did they, did they take the computer?

Phil: No.

PI: How- if Pustay wasn’t there, how did he, how did he how did he-

Phil: Oh I’m not saying that Pustay wasn’t there. I didn’t say that. I never. I said Pustay never talked to me. If Pustay was there, I never saw him. And he certainly never talked to me.

Lead investigator Thomas Pustay who later was convicted of sexual abuse of a child

PI: I mean you can’t miss this guy, mustache. Heavy set guy.

Phil: That’s what I’m saying. I – I never saw him. That’s not to say that he wasn’t there. I, I didn’t mean to imply that I said he wasn’t there because I don’t know that. I just know that he never talked to me.

PI: He never talked to you. The only guy that ever talked to you –

Phil: He has, he has made several times statements that he talked to me. And he did not talk to me.

PI: Did anyone else interview you after that?

Phil: No. That was it.

PI: That was it.  They they never asked you and said, they made up their minds.

Phil: Bert showed up, that was it. They left. The only people that ever came back up to me was the paramedics came up to me. Tried to clean my hands off. And I wouldn’t let them.

PI: Never called, never called you, never did anything.

Phil: No

PI: So they had so they had their minds sounds like made up from the scene.

Phil: In an hour.


Posted on January 17, 2012, in Cold Cases, Mississippi, Murder, Nikki LaDue January and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I call BULLSHIT….again!!!…and as usual, he is the victim and so distraught that he can’t even think straight, and damn sure doesn’t want to see the alleged suicide note. Seriously, who out there would not want to know the last thoughts of a loved one??? and all the “duh uh uh I don’t know” is smoke and mirrors. That computer could have told a story, one Bonnie has been trying to piece together for almost ten years now.

    Speaking for myself, the first thing I did was hack in to Nikki’s email account to find clues as to what the hell happened to her, and to further prove my point that Nikki was in an abusive relationship. So this grieving husband had the damn hard drive and erased it???? WTF!!! The emails were disturbing to say the least – SOB condemning her, and Nikki defending herself to the SOB and speaking up for her character and intentions as a mother and wife.

    I have seen with my own two eyes the “recovery journal” in hard color copy and bet this and notes of this type are the reason Phil told his son to erase the hard drive. Once you all see this journal, you will agree. This journal sheds a whole new light on the relationship for anyone who doubts he was abusive to her…and for those of you who get the abuse was very real will be even more disgusted. My gut tells me there was something on that computer that would have raised suspicion and given reason to investigate Nikki’s death – murder.

    Truth be told, how big and bold does a red flag have to be for the PCPD to stop and think, “hmmmm I’ll do my job and investigate the unattended, violent, tragic death of this beautiful young loving MOTHER seeing how creepy guy erased the damn hard drive……his gun….he was allegedly out of town when it happened….what’s he got to hide???” I mean fucking Barney Fife would have been all over this!….but not sickass Tom Pustay. He and the coroner had to get Nikki to the morgue so they could take pictures of her naked lifeless body, a crotch shot to be specific….Seriously, was there suspicion among those who ruled suicide after one hour that maybe just maybe she raped herself before she took her own life…with a gun to her BEAUTIFUL face…with the love of her life, Zack, just steps away…and the means and source to purchase enough pills to kill a large dinosaur??? By their own determination of suicide, no reason for a crotch shot ASSHOLES!!!!!

    Mike had nothing to say to Phil because Mike’s concern was Zack and getting his son to a safe haven away from WHATEVER was going on, in his mind.

    A classic PJ lie in black and white above wherein he told the PI how the coroner cussed him like a dog and goes on to say “I’ve done this, I’ve been around it…” referring to being around distraught families of victims following death and crime. Did he not think the PI was going to look into his background and discredit the tale of his career in law enforcement, SWAT captain no less….???? We know for certain he never had a career in law enforcement outside of casino security and private security. This is fact. Go to his linkedin page and see for yourself. He doesn’t flamboyantly flaunt this lifelong history of law enforcement there where the PD he claimed to work for could discredit him….or in an arena wherein he could be called out for his lies. I think he has himself convinced he was a cop on some planet…perhaps the same planet where Nikki loved him and would never leave him. Whatever PJ lying sack of shit.

    PJ fails to mention the scratches on his face. I suppose his story would be he wiped his face sideways against the stucco walls. The friends who retrieved Zack’s belongings all describe the same wounds on Phil’s face, consistent with the scratch marks of fingernails swiping over a cheek.

    One last note, he referenced Paul’s visit to the condo that Tuesday, the day after he “discovered” Nikki’s body and described Paul’s strange demeanor. I know first hand what Paul’s strange demeanor was about because I was at his parent’s home that morning FOLLOWING my attempt to see Phil at the condo. I was very upset following the incident I described in a previous post wherein I went the the condo and Phil did not answer the door. During this same attempted visit, I sat out by the pool opposite the side where Nikki lived gazing up to the balcony where her life ended only to see the SOB standing in the glass door staring down at me. This is a guy who likes to try to intimidate. He refused to answer the door and talk to me (I was one of the many banned from her life) yet he stood there and stared down at me. How very strange. I left the condo and drove to see Paul at his parent’s home less than a mile away and expressed my opinion that Phil was somehow responsible for her death and convinced Paul that Nikki did not take her own life. I told Paul of the strange incident earlier that morning at the condo and asked him to take me to the condo. I wanted to see Phil face to face and I wanted to see where my dear friend took her last breath. I wanted something of hers, a earring back, a hair clip, anything that may have touched her in those last moments of her precious life. Paul, being the friend he was, immediately told me to get in the car; that he would take me there exclaiming he owns the place and has every right to be there. He couldn’t give a shit about seeing it even though he owned the place. He went there that Tuesday for me. He had already been there and saw what he needed to see. He was there Tuesday for me. He brought me. His demeanor was a result of the sick feeling PJ left in the hearts of Nikki’s friends. His demeanor was that of a heartbroken friend. I carefully scanned the condo for any trace of what was Nikki’s life, while Paul waited patiently. I would imagine he probably did have a strange demeanor. What’s even more strange is an “innocent” husband who will not answer the door for his wife’s best friend.

    What is even more sad than the death of this beautiful, ambitious, brilliant, creative and loving mother, daughter, sister, cousin, niece, aunt, granddaughter, and friend is that a killer runs free to do this again.

  2. Phil,I know you know,I hope you have trouble dealing with this along with sleepless nights and nightmares,man up Phil!! I know you,worked with you and seen the jealousy more than enough!! Your days are numbered I’m positive of that,what a cold hearted,worthless s.o.b you are!!! Burn in hell buddy!!!

  3. Man up Phil….coward!!Your not fooling me!!Burn in Hell!!!

  4. I only had the one personal weapon. The other weapon that I talked about had already been turned in when I left that other business.

    Is this “personal weapon” a stun gun? Which could have possibly made the marks on Nikki’s face?

    I also heard about about Phil’s behavior at the memorial service many there thought he was cold and displaying false grief with no real tears. Both there and in NY at funeral he wore sunglasses night and day.

    The note – Supposedly not printed but found up on a computer. Wonder who pulled it up? And why? Maybe the same person who made Nikki write it and wanted to control and punish her even more. …oh yes and then acting guilty as hell has his son wipe the computer clean! Phil’s son Matt Phil’s Linkedin Frank Brown

    • Is the holster to the stun gun? Or the pistol between Nikki’s legs?

      I am disappointed in the lack of question this PI asks. How could Phil afford to buy the Mustang when he wasn’t working? I can’t believe there weren’t company benefits like life insurance, profit sharing, etc for Nikki – who last day was noted as the day of her death.

      Where was the probate? In LA or MS? On death certificate it says the informer is Phil but Nancy was 911 caller who 1st informed LE.

      There is no physician’s signature even though it says it is required. How can ME Hargrove say Nikki shot herself with out proving it? Does that violate victim rights?

  5. If Nikki’s last day of employment was the day she was found shot there would have been a refund from the IRS.

    “How do I file an income tax return and request a refund for a decedent?”
    Complete an income tax return Form 80-105 Resident Return or Form 80-205 Non-Resident / Part-Year Return. Attach the following required documents to the return:

    · Completed federal Form 1310
    · Copy of Death Certificate
    · If requestor is a personal representative, verification of appointment.

    Since Nikki died without a will, is known as dying “intestate,” the probate court appoints a Personal Representative, called an “Administrator” or “Administratrix,” to receive claims against the estate, pay creditors, and then distribute all remaining property in accordance with the laws of that state.

    The major difference between dying with a will or without one is that in a no will death, your state’s law determines the beneficiaries.

    Zack would be a beneficiary, why did he not receive any benefits?

    • Though I do not know the details, I do remember when Mike started receiving benefits on behalf of Zack. I know nothing more with regard to amount, duration, frequency, etc. I didn’t ask.

      The SOB acts like he bought her that car. She bought the damn car. I think he might have made a monetary contribution in the way of giving her funds from an old clunker he might of sold or signed over to her to trade in. Not sure on the facts here but do know he made some type of contribution but that was her car not his and he didn’t buy it for her.

      He likes to make folks think he’s in charge and that Nikki couldn’t tie her shoe without his direction.

      I hope the recovery journal is included in the final post.

      • I think all Mike got was Social Security benefits. Not a percent of her estate. She had possessions, the car. Phil gave her his old LTD to trade in. Was it a clear title or did he unload another debt before she was to die?
        Exactly my thoughts, he took her phone why let her buy a car in her own name unless he knew he’d get it?
        I hope the journal is included too!

  6. Mississippi state law is

    Phil gets Nikki’s car, did her death benefits pay for it?

    Check out the below forms, Could Phil have goten a $12,000 tax deduction for Nikki’s death. Both forms have a space for child.

    I’d like to see the verification of appointment – why wouldn’t a minor child not be a beneficiary?

  7. I find it interesting Phil moves to a state that has community property just 2 weeks prior to Nikki’s shooting death. In the above taped interview he talks about not wanting Nikki’s mustang but of course keeps it. Even though Nikki’s son receives nothing.

    Intestacy and Marital Property
    The portion of an estate that is distributed to the spouse of a decedent who dies intestate depends to some extent on other laws governing marital property in the decedent’s state. For example, in states which employ a COMMUNITY PROPERTY scheme, spouses generally own equal rights to all marital property, regardless of whose name is on the title of the property. But this general rule has some important exceptions. There are currently nine community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

    In a typical situation involving community property for a decedent who dies intestate, the decedent’s share of the community property owned at the time of death will pass automatically to the surviving spouse. Property that the decedent owned individually (e.g. certain property owned prior to the marriage) is usually divided between the surviving spouse and any children. The spouse usually takes one quarter of this individual property and surviving children take the remaining three-quarters of the property. For individuals living in a community property state, the complexity of the intestacy and other probate laws make it is especially important to contact competent legal advice when planning their estates.

    If the intestate decedent is married and has children, it seems reasonable to assume that the surviving spouse/parent would take all of the deceased spouse’s property, especially if the children are minors at the time of the decedent’s death. Yet, most intestacy statutes distribute just one-third to one-half of the decedent’s property to the surviving spouse. The remainder is divided among the decedent’s surviving children, regardless of their ages.

  8. Phil's Rush to judgement

    I have long felt Phil allegedly premeditated and should be investigated for the murder of Nikki.

    You’ve heard the old saying, “If he lies a little, he lies a lot, if he steal a little, he steals a lot.”

    • Phil lost his job at Grand for assaulting a female customer – just before he and Nikki were married. (Their marriage was only 2 yrs)

    • Phil loses job at Day Detectives for fraud – involving Nikki.

    • Phil is sued by ex-girlfriend for thousands – he charged fraudulently on her Credit cards. This happens not long before Nikki’s death. How would he pay this?

    • Nikki’s Mustang – Who’s name was this car in? My guess is Nikki’s, who’d give Phil a car loan? When did Nikki buy car? How did Phil get possession of car? Community property state “LA?”

    • 3 months prior he makes Nikki call her parents and admit to taking pain meds.

    • 4 to 6 wks prior to he death she has surgery on right hand wrist – would make handling Nikki easier – Nikki should have difficult time shooting herself. Should have been a scar and weaken her hand, but this is not mentioned by ME or autopsy.

    • There are witnesses to Phil’s abusive behavior towards both Zack and Nikki.

    • Phil gets new address is in a community property state. And he gets new job which he is also eventually fired from. Records online – state Nikki lived in LA with Phil. Did he make sure there was a record she lived there with him?

    • Phil is extremely controlling, manipulative, and maniacal – he works hard at demeaning, abusing Nikki. – The journal will prove this.

    • The fact he gave away some of Nikki’s jewelry before even seeing Nikki at wake – is a tell. He had money, possessions and getting away with murder on his mind. He is not a grieving husband. He does not pay for funeral but insists on inscription on headstone. (you see it’s all about appearances).

    • Phil sends cards to his dead wife trying to prove his undying love and innocence. He even uses this in controlling his new wife.

    • He tells family there were no possessions, anyone who has gone through a divorce will tell you that’s a lie. I am shocked there were no benefits from her job at Grand, life insurance, profit sharing, etc. There would also be IRS refund. I think Phil’s lying – ALOT.

    • He is seen soon after with a new girlfriend who looks very much like Nikki. I am willing to bet this is before he sent the 1st card to his dead wife. Maybe even before she was dead.
    • His wives and ex-girlfriends have complained about Phil’s abuse towards them.

    • Recently Phil loses job again due to assaulting a fellow employee.

    You remember the term rush to judgement. Well it sure looked like Phil was in a big hurry. He thinks he is smarter than anyone else. Psychopaths usually do, they just can’t help themselves.

    I think he’s stupid and has been digging his own hole. I pray for justice for Nikki.

  9. Very Interesting

    How and why would Phil NOT list her son?! Makes it look like he’s only surviving heir?

    Obituary in Sun Herald, written by Phil January
    Wed Jul 31 2002

    Nichole L. January

    *Pass Christian – Nichole Lynn January, 30, died Monday, July 29, 2002 in Pass Christian.

    Mrs. January was a native of Hornell, N.Y. and was employed with Grand Casino Gulfport.

    Survivors include her husband, Philip January.

    Services are pending at Brown & Powers Funeral Home in Angelica, N.Y. Riemann funeral Home, 25th Avenue in Gulfport handled local arrangements.

  10. The Sun Herald probably got the obit info from the local funeral home-b/c the funeral home is responsible for errors-and pays for re-writes. Phil probably provided the info to the local funeral home. When I was obit writer at a newspaper I often took requests for copies of obits to send insurance companies and banks to settle up estates and such.

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