ROCKLAND, Maine - A sign on the railing overlooking Rockland Harbor gave testimony to the emotions that pervaded a vigil Tuesday night for homicide victim Jessica Marie Nichols.
“If love could have saved you, you would still be alive today,” said the sign, taped to the railing above a larger than life portrait of Nichols that was illuminated by a dozen or so candles on the ground.
Organized by lifelong friend Allaura Elliott of Warren, the gathering drew nearly 100 friends and relatives to celebrate the life and memory of the 22-year-old Nichols of Waldoboro.
As darkness fell Tuesday over Rockland Harbor Park behind the police station, people quietly gathered, bringing candles and flowers.
“I would like to thank everyone for coming here tonight,” Elliott began.
“I can still remember the first time I met her,” said Elliott. “I was 4 and she was 8, and she was my best friend from the beginning.”
Turning to the portrait, she said, “You were part of the family. We loved you, and we always will.”
Elliott recalled Nichols’ “beautiful smile and laugh that could brighten up even the saddest of days.”
“You will always be missed, and may your smile follow all of us through our hardest times.”
Elliott called on those who brought flowers to form a line and file up to the railing, and after a comment or a silent prayer, to throw the flowers into the Rockland Harbor. Everyone chose silence as they walked up to the railing, clasping their candles in one hand and flowers in the other.
School friend Jason McLean played several guitar solos while the mourners approached the water and tossed their flowers in.
After the ceremony, Devon Prock, 24, of Waldoboro, an old schoolmate of Nichols, told the Bangor Daily News that she was “very unusual” because she never had anything negative to say about anybody.
Carla Nichols, Jessica’ s mother, also said afterward that she was grateful for the display of support for her daughter but found it very emotional.
Sally Nichols of Wiscasset, grandmother of Jessica, called her a “good granddaughter.
“We had a lot of fun,” she said, remembering her granddaughter for a “lot of things,” but especially “her beautiful smile.”
Nichols was killed July 2 in Hope. Steven Pomeroy, 23, of Hope confessed to Maine State police that he killed Nichols, according to court documents. The state medical examiner’ s office said that Nichols had been inflicted with multiple sharp-force and blunt-force injures.
Pomeroy allegedly told police that he lost his temper over a comment that she had made about his ex-fiancee and that he bludgeoned and stabbed her. Then, after cleaning up the blood in his apartment at 30 Pearse Road in Hope, he placed her body in the trunk of his car and drove to a friend’ s house in another part of Hope, he reportedly told police.
Pomeroy made his initial appearance July 3 in Knox County Superior Court. District Judge Joseph Field charged Pomeroy with murder and ordered him held until a bail hearing that has since been scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, July 28, at Knox County Superior Court.