Suspect in killing of Nicole Ayres in court

September 24, 2010 2:55:40 PM PDT
The New Jersey man accused of killing a 22-year-old softball star had his first day in court on Friday.

Wearing what appeared to be a white brace around his midsection, 28-year-old Stephen Headley appeared via video link for a first appearance in Mount Holly on murder charges.

Headley, of Florence, is accused of the Sept. 13th murder of 22-year-old Nicole Ayres of Westville, Gloucester County.

As her parents - Rick and Gina, along with family members - watched, Superior Court judge James Palmer questioned Headley.

"Do you understand your rights prior to charges being read?" said Palmer. "Um, not fully. I need a lawyer," Headley replied.

It was earlier this month when Nicole Ayres' body was discovered dumped near a soccer field in Southampton Twp.

An autopsy revealed she was stabbed multiple times in the head neck and back.

Later that day, when Headley went to his mother's house, she called police. Headley ran into the road and was hit by a pickup truck. He broke his back, ribs and both ankles.

Nicole Ayres was a star softball pitcher at Deptford High and later Fordham University. She was a student at Rutgers-Camden at the time of her murder.

Headley was ordered held on $750,000 bail with no 10% option.

After the hearing Nicole Ayres family and friends looked shaken as they walked from the courtroom, but did not say a word to reporters.