Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

January 8, 2014

MTV case heads to grand jury

By Leeann Akers - Editor

Jan. 8, 2014 — The case of an Elliott County man facing felony drug trafficking charges after his appearance on an MTV reality show is headed to a Carter County grand jury.

David R. Nickell, 33, of Sandy Hook, recently appeared in MTV's reality show “True Life” entitled “I'm addicted to pills” alongside his then- girlfriend Cortney J. Howard, 26, of Grayson.

During Nickell's preliminary hearing on Monday, Kentucky State Police Det. Jeff Kelley testified that Nickell was shown trafficking a Schedule II controlled substance in the show.

“I asked him if the pill in the show was real and he told me it was a 30 milligram oxycodone,” Kelley said. “He showed me where the house was where he bought it, which is in Carter County.”

According to Kelley, Howard also confirmed that the pill was oxycodone.

“She said they were on TV and thought it was OK to do these things on TV,” Kelley said

Nickell's attorney, Sebastian Joy, argued that normal protocol for trafficking cases were not followed.

“Can you tell by looking at the pill on TV that it is an oxycodone?” Joy asked.

“No lab tests were done on the pill because she snorted it off the hood of the car,” Kelley said, referring to the MTV show.

“Have you seen people hand over fake pills?” Joy asked.

“It happens,” Kelley responded.

Nickell's case was bound over to the grand jury. A preliminary hearing has not been held for Howard, who is currently facing charges of first degree possession of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of a minor, and theft by unlawful taking under $500.

Leeann Akers can be reached at or by phone at 474-5101.