LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A 23-year-old woman who wounded her blind date with a knife in a Las Vegas-area hotel room in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian leader will avoid prison and instead serve three years’ probation, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Last year, a Clark County grand jury indicted Nika Nikoubin on charges of attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon because of certain, actual or perceived characteristics of a person, and two counts of battery. Nikoubin later agreed to plead guilty to two counts of false imprisonment with the use of a deadly weapon.
Citing Nikoubin’s ongoing mental health struggles and her support system, Judge Carli Kierny sentenced Nikoubin to probation Wednesday.
Henderson police arrested Nikoubin, a Texas-area university student, shortly after the stabbing on March 5, 2022, at Sunset Station. Nikoubin and the victim, Daniel Trevino, met online on the dating website Plenty of Fish, Henderson police wrote in an arrest report. The duo then agreed to meet at the hotel, booking a room together, police said.
While in the room, the pair began engaging in sexual activity, when Nikoubin put a blindfold on Trevino, police said. Nikoubin then turned off the lights, and several seconds later, cut Trevino’s neck, documents said.
“I have the scars to show for it,” Trevino said in court.
Photos shown to a grand jury showed two puncture wounds to Trevino’s neck. Nikoubin’s attorney had argued the charge of attempted murder was not appropriate, saying her client did not intend to kill the young man, writing, “Nikoubin specifically stated she did not wish to kill [the victim], but only wanted to ‘hurt him.’”
Trevino was able to speak with investigators the night of the stabbing.
“I’ve chosen to forgive but whatever the law decides to do, that’s up to the law,” Trevino told Kierny.
While speaking to officers at the hotel, Nikoubin said she wanted to get revenge for a drone strike, which killed Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani in 2020. Soleimani was a popular Iranian military officer and right-hand man to the country’s supreme leader. Former President Donald Trump called for Soleimani’s assassination to kill “the number-one terrorist anywhere in the world” to protect “American diplomats and military personnel” worldwide.
The 8 News Now Investigators obtained body camera video in December, showing officers talking to Nikoubin before her arrest.
“I guess out of spite and revenge,” she told the officer when he asked why she stabbed the victim.
“What do you mean by that? Like, why?” the officer asked.
“I mean the U.S. killed Soleimani. Lots of blood spilled,” she said. “So, I feel like, it’s fair that American blood be spilled.”
In court, Nikoubin, who immigrated to the U.S. from Iran when she was 12, told Kierny she struggles with her mental health, including diagnoses for severe depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Her lawyer described her client’s statements about Soleimani as a psychotic episode.
“I was raped when I was 18 years old by another student,” Nikoubin told Kierny. “At the time, I did not fully realize the impact that this experience had on me and my mental health deteriorated.”
Nikoubin, who said she graduated among the top of her high school class, said she was in a mental health facility for 10 days before she came to Las Vegas and met Trevino.
“I was diagnosed with a number of disorders including severe depression, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disorder,” she said. “These diagnoses were deeply upsetting to me and, truthfully, I was in denial. While I was prescribed medication to treat my disorders, I initially struggled to properly follow my treatment regimen.”
While on house arrest in her home state of Texas, Nikoubin attended classes at a university. Earlier this year, a police representative for the university said they nor any department in the region knew Nikoubin was on house arrest in their jurisdictions.
At the time, Kierny said it appeared the Dallas-based agency monitoring Nikoubin was only tracking her location, not checking to see if she potentially violated her curfew or other provisions. The school later banned Nikoubin from campus.
Nikoubin did not violate any terms of her house arrest nor did she have any connection with a terrorist organization, her lawyer said.
“Most importantly your honor, I want to express my deepest apologies to the victim, Daniel, and to the state of Nevada, for the harm that I have caused,” Nikoubin said.
While on house arrest, Nikoubin released a music video for a song called “Spaceman” under the name Nika Borouj. She also gave several performances and was working as a fitness instructor.
Kierny said she would allow Nikoubin to serve her probation in Texas. She also ordered Nikoubin to complete 100 hours of probation.