HOUSTON (KTRK) --People who knew the couple have their own story to tell.
Kimberly Cormier, 40, had only minor injuries when she and her boyfriend, James Earl Nicholas, 48, ran from the violent offenders task force Thursday. The marshals were going to arrest the couple on a capital murder warrant. Nicholas was killed in a shoot-out. A US Marshal said the suspects fired first.
The pair was wanted in connection with at least three murders in east Harris County this month. Last week, two friends were found shot to death in neighboring apartments, in what appeared to be a robbery that escalated to murder.
On Monday, a man named Jose Bonilla was found dead, with his hands bound with zip ties behind his back. He had been shot execution style.
Cormier and Nicholas had been staying with an 88-year-old friend of Cormier's mother prior to the murder. James Loftin says Cormier, who he called Kim, had asked to move in with him because she was down on her luck. She brought Nicholas with her.
"He was a nice fella," said Loftin. "He'd do anything in the world for you." Of Cormier, he praised the way she cared for him. The couple, he said, kept his small apartment clean.
Loftin's daughter said she never had a hint that the couple had a dark side. Cormier, she said, had done drugs, but there was never trouble at the apartment.
She also says Jose Bonilla was no stranger to Cormier. "She worked with him at a game room and bought a car from him." She says Cormier never mentioned Bonilla's death, even though it had made news this week. "I saw it on Channel 13," she told us.
Loftin and his daughter are both baffled by what has become a case of three people killed in two robberies, and possibly a fourth that the Sheriff's Office says Houston police are investigating involving the couple.
Neither plan to visit Cormier in jail, where she's being held without bond for the capital murder of Bonilla. His daughter says she couldn't, because "I want to think of her as that little girl I knew."