The Crawfordsville man accused in a choking death last month appeared for an initial hearing Friday on felony charges related to the fatal altercation.

Scott Owen Nichols, 49, is facing charges of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter, both level 5 felonies. If convicted, he could face between 1-6 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine for reach count. 

Judge Harry Siamas entered preliminary please of not guilty for Nichols, who plans to hire his own attorney. A jury trial is scheduled for Jan. 14. 

Nichols is accused of choking Christopher Lee Hodges, 46, to death during a fight July 19 in the basement of Nichols’ home at 610 Whitlock Ave. Police say Nichols flagged down officers and told them he believed Hodges was dead. 

According to a probable cause affidavit, Nichols said it started when Hodges made unflattering comments about a woman both men knew. The altercation became physical when Hodges followed Nichols to the basement and hit him with an open hand. Court records state that Nichols dodged a second swing, got Hodges in a choke hold from behind and felt his body go limp, but continued choking Hodges for a period of time.

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