Suspect in slaying of Marblehead woman pleads not guilty to murder charge

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LYNN, Massachusetts — A man charged in the weekend killing of his girlfriend was ordered held without bail following his arraignment on Monday.

John Devine pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in Lynn District Court. He's accused in the death of Tanya Nichols, whose body was discovered in her home in Marblehead on Sunday.

Assistant District Attorney Kim Gillespie said Nichols, 51, was found behind a partially open door to her bedroom. The medical examiner ruled she died from blunt force trauma to her head.

Devine, 28, was caught outside a Dunkin' Donuts shop in nearby Lynn about an hour after the body was discovered, authorities said.

Witnesses said the victim and Devine were seen and heard arguing on Friday night, prosecutors said.

In a case also involving Nichols, the Essex district attorney's office said Devine was charged Nov. 17 with assault, threat to commit a crime and malicious destruction of property.

Devine was released with a bail warning in that case and was ordered not to abuse Nichols, prosecutors said, despite a request from the state that he be held on $1,500 bail and ordered to have no contact with her.

Devine is due back in court on Feb. 2.

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