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Posted: March 26, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Key players plead not guilty for murder

All 4 men arrested in 2009 Nichols murder case

The four men charged with the murder of 38-year-old Andrew "Drew" Nichols in late-2009 pleaded not guilty in Newton County Superior Court Thursday.

The men entered the courtroom separately accompanied by three members of the Covington/Newton County SWAT Team and stood with their attorneys to enter their pleas and receive pre-trial orders for their individual cases.

Chad Ashley Allen, 32, Sam Dumas Dawkins, 45, Robert Vincent Lambert, 35, and Michael Scott West, 31, are all charged with felony and malice murder, concealing the death of another, aggravated battery, possession of arms by a convicted felon, possession of firearms or knife while trying to commit crimes and kidnapping.

Additionally, Allen, Lambert and Dawkins are charged with aggravated assault, Lambert is charged with probation violation, criminal damage to property in the second degree and arson in the first degree, and Dawkins is charged with possession of a schedule II narcotic with intent, trafficking in methamphetamine, theft by receiving stolen property and possession of methamphetamine with intent.

Investors allege that the group kidnapped Nichols and held him in a shed at Dawkins’ home before killing him and attempting to bury his body in a shallow grave in Social Circle.

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