Former Comet accused of attempted murder sentenced to probation

Grace Cowger | Mercury Staff

A former UTD student on trial for attempted murder and felony battery was sentenced to 36 months of probation on Aug. 2.

Nika Nikoubin

Former business administration junior Nika Nikoubin — who now goes by Nicole Nikoubin — stood for sentencing before the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County, Nevada for stabbing a man on a blind date in a Las Vegas hotel in March of last year. Nikoubin attended UTD in Spring 2023 before being banned from campus in February after a Student Media staff member discovered her background and reported her to security. Clark County District Judge Carli Kierny found Nikoubin guilty of two counts of false imprisonment with a deadly weapon, both Category B felonies in the state of Nevada. Nikoubin is subject to standard terms of probation including 100 hours of assigned community service, mandatory counseling and random drug testing. Nikoubin will continue to live with her parents in Frisco, Texas during her probation.

“In light of the circumstances surrounding this case as well as the steps that Miss Nikoubin has taken to address those circumstances, I find that a probation would be an appropriate sentence here,” Kierny said. “I hope [she] is able to stay on the continued path … and that we never see her back here under similar circumstances.”

Nikoubin’s lawyer, Alana Bondy, sought 12-30 months of probation for Nikoubin, citing a history of adhering to house arrest rules including complying with high-level electronic surveillance and a 6 p.m. curfew as support. Bondy said Nikoubin broke curfew once in June to attend a job interview for a position she currently holds as a manager and fitness instructor in the DFW area. Additionally, Nikoubin lives under close guidance from her parents, one of whom is UTD electric engineering professor Tooraj Nikoubin.

“I want to express that I take full responsibility of my actions.” Nikoubin said. “I deeply regret that I have caused [the victim] pain and suffering. This incident itself is difficult for me to remember, and at the time I struggled to understand what was real and what was not … My arrest was a true wake-up call and in some ways, I credit it to saving my life.”

Bondy said that Nikoubin was diagnosed with multiple mental disorders a couple of months prior to the stabbing, including post-traumatic stress disorder following a sexual assault when she was 18, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder with severe psychotic symptoms and schizophrenia.

“Miss Nikoubin originally struggled to comply with her treatment regimen and she left home following her diagnosis to come to Las Vegas,” Bondy said. “She was not taking her prescribed medications at the time of the events.”

According to a medical opinion from Nika’s psychologist, Bruce Frumkin, Nikoubin was in a psychotic state during the encounter with the victim. Frumkin believes that Nikoubin gave law enforcement a false statement during her arrest and that the stabbing was not to avenge the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

“It was a product of a psychotic delusion and not reflective of her actual political beliefs,” Bondy said. “Dr. Frumkin’s opinion is also corroborated by law enforcement’s investigation where they found no evidence that Ms. Nikoubin had any ties to any terroristic organization.”

Leading up to the trial, Nikoubin sought clinical treatment and weekly therapy. Bondy said Nikoubin hasn’t entered a psychotic state since starting medication, and she must continue seeking psychiatric services during probation.

“Since the beginning, I’ve had the mindset that I wanted to whole situation to be concluded with,” the victim, Daniel Trebino, said. “I’ve chosen to forgive.”

Nikoubin said she withdrew from UTD in March after struggling to keep up with online classes and intends to continue her education at another four-year university this fall before applying for law school. Nikoubin also plans to continue with her musical career as she wants to “continue singing [to] inspire Persian women to participate in the arts,” and will release an autobiography about the aftermath of the stabbing.

“The incident in Las Vegas, which has been subject to misconceptions, was solely rooted in mental health struggles and bears no connection to any political motives or affiliations,” Nikoubin said in a press release. “My autobiography is an opportunity to provide an authentic perspective beyond sensationalized narratives.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly identified one of the terms of Nikoubin’s probation and misstated that Nikoubin was on trial. The 6 p.m. curfew was a term of her house arrest, not probation, and she stood for sentencing, not for a trial.

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