A Woodbine man accused of killing his girlfriend in June has been given a trial date.

Nicholas Rucker was indicted in August by a Whitley County Grand Jury in the death of his girlfriend, Vicki S. Conner, in May 2019. Conner died inside a residence where they were living on Highway 1604 in the Woodbine community.

Rucker was on the run from law enforcement until he was caught on July 4 in Knox County. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment and was held in the Whitley County Detention Center.

Rucker’s trial date is set for December 10, 2019 in Knox County. 

Whitley Commonwealth’s Attorney Ronnie Bowling filed notice that he intended to seek the death penalty against Rucker. Rucker was convicted in a 1998 Laurel County murder case.

“The offense of murder was committed by a person, who has a substantial history of serious assaultive criminal convictions,” Bowling wrote. The 1998 case involved the death of an infant child in a “shaken baby” case. Rucker pleaded guilty in that case and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In an exclusive interview with The Mountain Advocate in July, Rucker stated “I’m sorry she’s gone. I didn’t do this and I loved her too.” During that interview, Rucker maintained his innocence and claimed that Conner shot herself.

“I just didn’t know what to do,” he said, “I was losing it. I picked the gun up and I almost pulled the trigger on myself. It was in her lap when I picked it up,” he stated. 

Rucker, who spent 44 days on the run, before being apprehended in Knox County by Knox County Sheriff’s Deputies Mikey Ashurst and Hunter Luttrell, by ’sleeping in the woods, on the ground and in the cold,’ claims to have gotten no assistance during his time at large.

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