Pontiac man gets life in prison for murder of WWJ radio anchor at his Macomb County home

Man killed Jim Nicolai, known as ‘Jim Matthews,’ attacked his family

WWJ anchor Jim Nicolai, who went by "Jim Matthews." (WWJ)

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Pontiac man convicted of murder, assault and more in the violent attack that killed a WWJ-AM radio news anchor and hurt his girlfriend and children last year has been sentenced to life in prison.

A Macomb County judge on Thursday, June 1, sentenced Arthur Williamson to life in prison without parole for the murder of Jim Nicolai, who went by “Jim Matthews,” and the assault of Nicolai’s girlfriend and children. Nicolai was working as an overnight news anchor for WWJ 950 at the time of the attack.

In April, 55-year-old Williamson pleaded no contest to charges related to the Sept. 23, 2022 attack. Pleading no contest means that Williamson accepts conviction for all of the charges, but does not admit any guilt.

Williamson has been accused and convicted of killing Nicolai and attacking his family at their Chesterfield Township home. Williamson, a guest in their home, attacked the family with a hammer, killing Nicolai and hurting his 10-year-old son, his girlfriend, and their 5-year-old daughter.

Authorities have said Williamson was friends with Nicolai’s girlfriend, Nichole Guertin. Guertin testified that Matthews was working a late shift when Williamson came over to smoke crack cocaine and bring heroin. The woman said Williamson slashed her throat and tied her up after she refused to role play that night.

A judge on Thursday sentenced Williamson to life in prison without the chance for parole. Williamson has been convicted of the following crimes:

  • One count of first-degree murder.
  • Two counts of assault with intent to murder.
  • Three counts of unlawful imprisonment.

The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office said Williamson was a habitual fourth offender, which at least “guarantees a mandatory 25 year sentence for the assault and unlawful imprisonment charges.”

Arthur Levan Williamson (Macomb County Sheriff's Office)

Attack details

The attack took place inside Nicolai’s home within the Hidden Harbor condo complex near Jefferson Avenue and Hooker Road in Chesterfield Township.

Guertin had reportedly welcomed Williamson as a guest into their home sometime overnight before Nicolai returned from work around 6 a.m. Guertin said Williamson was invited over to smoke crack cocaine and bring heroin.

At some point between 6 a.m. and noon, Williamson began attacking the family with a hammer. Guertin said Williamson was set off when she refused to role play and tie herself up.

Williamson is said to have zip-tied Guertin’s wrists and ankles together and slashed her throat. When Nicolai got home from work, Williamson struck him with a hammer, stabbed him and slit his throat.

Guertin and their 5-year-old daughter escaped the condo during the attack and flagged down a bystander for help. When police arrived, they found Nicolai dead from his injuries.

Nicolai’s 10-year-old son was found tied up inside a closet with serious head injuries. He had been “left for dead” after he tried to fight off Williamson while his father was being attacked, police said. He underwent ear and brain surgery.

Guertin was found outside with stab wounds all over her body. She was initially hospitalized in critical condition. Her daughter was treated at the hospital and released, police said.

Williamson was reportedly found in the basement of the home with self-inflicted injuries. He had also overdosed, but survived. First responders treated him at the scene and then took him to a nearby hospital.

About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.