Nicolas Morelos (Image via Dateline)

5 chilling details about Nicolas Morelos' murder

Nicolas Morelos' murder was one of the cases whose brutality was enough to shock even veteran true-crime fans. The former marine and director of maintenance at Marana Aerospace Solutions was shot eight times inside his home in July 2016, shortly before his planned marriage to fiancee Kristina Trepanitis. His manner of death indicated that there was someone who really hated him.

This high-profile murder was the subject of Dateline: Secrets Uncovered season 10, episode 23. The synopsis for the episode read:

"Nick popped the question and Kristy said yes; they were busy planning their future when she found him dead in the bedroom; police questioned spurned lovers and office enemies before a tip from Nick's brother helped reveal the true killer."

The episode is available on DirectTV and It is also slated for a rerun on November 29, 2022.

Here are five chilling details from the brutal murder of Nicolas Morelos.

Five quick facts about Nicolas Morelos' murder case


1) Nicolas Morelos had a very different impression on men and women

Nic's impression on women was quite different from his impression on men. He was known as a bonafide ladies' man to his coworkers and friends. However, he was also considered a very tough man and often got into altercations with coworkers. He also had an expansive dating history that consisted of many women from his workplace.

This meant that he had plenty of enemies around.


2) Nicolas Morelos was shot eight times indicating an outright execution

A trial is underway for a man charged in a 2016 murder of Nicolas Morelos.…

Morelos' murder was not an ordinary one. It was clear that this person of strong personality had made himself quite a hateful enemy, who had shot him eight times, including one shot to his forehead. Authorities also alleged that he was killed by someone he knew.

3) There was a long list of suspects in Nicolas Morelos' murder

via @Newsweek Who Killed Nicolas Morelos? 'Dateline’s' 'Stone Cold' Friday, January 4 Episode to Explore Tucson Man’s Murder

While in many cases, authorities scramble to find suspects, this was not quite the case for Nicolas Morelos, who had many people who could have killed him. He had many ex-lovers, like Jessica who may have had a grudge against him. They also spoke to another woman named Claudia. They also interviewed Claudia's ex-fiancee.

They finally discovered James Lapan, a disgruntled colleague who was dating Jessica at the time.

4) Nic's management style ultimately led to his untimely death

After so many suspects, the police discovered that it was indeed a disgruntled colleague who harbored an intense hatred for Nicolas Morelos. James Lapan had allegedly complained to HR multiple times about Nic.

It turned out that James both hated Nic for the way he treated him and was also jealous of the ex-marine because he was higher up in the company. This culminated in his murderous intention.

5) Almost all evidence implicated James Lapan, and he was sentenced to prison for life

BREAKING: James Lapan sentenced to life in prison for 2016 murder of Nicolas Morelos.

After finding bullets in his house that matched the shell casings found at Nic's apartment, the police followed it up with a DNA test. This confirmed that James was the one who murdered Nic. James' wife also testified that he had threatened her to lie for him.

This resulted in a clear-cut conviction where James was sentenced to life in prison. without the possibility of parole.

Edited by
Vinay Agrawal
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