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A San Marcos man who attacked his sister with a baseball bat and then set the family home afire, last August, pleaded guilty this week.

Edward Louis Nickols, 48, admitted two felonies: assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury, and arson of an inhabited structure. Both are considered “strike” offenses. In the plea deal, one charge of attempted murder was dropped.

It was a Tuesday afternoon, after 1 p.m. on August 14, when deputies responded to a call about a fight between a brother and a sister. A neighbor reportedly saw Edward Louis Nickols’ sister running down the street, screaming and bloodied.

Nickols, whose last name is also spelled Nickel in court documents, refused to come out of the family home on Concha Lane, and a crisis team was brought in. There were negotiations for about two hours, during which time the Nickols’ home became fully engulfed in flame. The neighborhood was evacuated for blocks around. About 3 p.m. Edward Louis Nickols was taken into custody. The burned home was reportedly a “total loss.”

In court paperwork, prosecutors alleged that Nickols or Nickel has a prior conviction for aggravated assault in Maricopa County in Arizona. That alleged conviction was dated March 1, 2011.

Edward Louis Nickols is expected to get 8 years plus 8 months prison time when he is formally sentenced on January 10. He is currently held without bail.

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