KALAMAZOO, MI – A man accused of shooting his girlfriend in the head refused to leave his jail cell to hear testimony Monday, May 24, in the 2019 killing.
Anthony Ozomaro, 33, was shown periodically in a video feed outside of his Kalamazoo County Jail cell, but he showed no interest in participating in the probable-cause hearing.
Ozomaro is charged with open murder in the March 8, 2019, killing of Nikkole Riojas, 35. She was shot once in the head while she was in bed at her Charles Street home.
Ozomaro had an iPad available to view proceedings and a secure telephone line to talk to his attorneys. He was hidden from the camera showing his jail cell for much of the hearing but appeared to be standing near a mirror later.
Jamie Washington was a friend to Riojas. She was sleeping in her car, parked next door in the driveway, when she saw Ozomaro, on foot, approach her friend’s house. She wondered why he didn’t drive up. She knew her friend had taken out a restraining order against him.
“I knew that they had broken up recently and tried to get back together,” she told Kalamazoo County District Judge Christopher Haenicke in a preliminary hearing to determine if Ozomaro should stand trial on the murder charge.
The hearing will resume next month.
It was after midnight when Washington first saw Ozomaro, she said. He looked through the living-room window, then his girlfriend’s bedroom window, Washington testified. She said he went to the back of the house and she figured Riojas let him in after the light went off.
She didn’t hear or see anything else overnight.
The next morning, Riojas’s 9-year-old daughter was barefoot, standing in the driveway.
“She said, ‘My mom’s not waking up,’’ Washington said. She took the girl’s hand and went inside. She told her it would be OK.
Washington broke down in tears as she recalled finding her friend dead on the bed.
“This is hard to relive,” she said. “You could just tell she was dead. I brushed her hair (with her hand) and said, ‘Sorry, Nikkole.’”
The couple had two children.
Kalamazoo police later found Ozomaro’s black Mercedes and tried to stop his vehicle. He led police on a chase before crashing on Ingleside Drive. He then ran into an abandoned building on North Street where he was arrested.
He told police he was a “sovereign citizen” and didn’t recognize the government, police said.
Ozomaro was initially arrested for fleeing and eluding police and violating a bond condition – being at Riojas’ home – from an earlier incident of domestic-violence. He later was charged in her killing.
During the investigation, police found 251 grams of methamphetamine at his home.
He was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison after representing himself at trial. The case has been delayed by a competency evaluation.