Nicholas Schoonover convicted on first-degree rape charge

Published 9:31 am Tuesday, October 24, 2023

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

HELENA – Nicholas Richard Schoonover, who was first arrested on charges of first-degree rape by the Helena Detective Bureau on June 24, 2021, has been convicted on that charge following a guilty plea entered on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Schoonover, 36, began his trial on Monday, Oct. 16 having entered a not-guilty plea. However, early Tuesday, Schoonover altered his plea to guilty.

The State’s prosecution, after consulting with the victim, agreed to the terms of Schoonover’s plea, which precluded any future appeals in the case.

“We are very thankful for the bravery our victim showed by facing her abuser,” District Attorney Matt Casey said. “Her testimony, along with the work of the investigative team, ensured that the defendant will serve a lengthy prison sentence and will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.”

Schoonover received a 42-year prison sentence for the crime and will not be eligible for correctional incentive time.

The case against Schoonover was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Jody Tallie and Matthew Kimbrough. The Helena Police Department, with assistance from Calhoun Cleburne Children’s Center, investigated the case.

“I am incredibly proud of the very hard work of the men and women of our Detective Bureau, led by Sgt. Adam Sample, to ensure this now convicted rapist will he held accountable for his crime,” Helena Police Chief Brad Flynn said.

For the Helena Police Department, the conviction represented the culmination of years of work, across multiple departments, that has resulted in the removal of an active predator from the general population.

“I also want to thank the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office for their hard work and dedication in this case,” Flynn said. “District Attorney Casey’s team is committed to working with Shelby County law enforcement to remind criminals that Shelby County is not the place to target the innocent. Our community is that much safer with this predator off the street for the next several decades.”