Portland man dies 3 years after surviving brutal attack

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man whose family said never fully recovered after being attacked by a homeless man three years ago in Southeast Portland passed away last week.

Bill Nickelby went to a convenience store on SE Powell Boulevard to buy his family snacks on Aug. 12, 2018. Court documents stated Kory Thomle approached Nickelby at the store and asked him to buy him some beer. Nickelby refused and reportedly said something to the effect of “that’s sketchy” to Thomle. Thomle waited outside the store with a baseball bat and jumped Nickelby as he was leaving, grabbing him by the throat before punching him in the face.

Nickelby fell to the ground, unconscious, and his head struck the asphalt. He was hospitalized with a skull fracture and a brain bleed.

Thomle was sentenced to 70 months in prison for 2nd-degree assault.

Three years went by but Nickelby’s family told KOIN 6 News the 50-year-old was never the same after the attack. Carol Maszy said she watched her brother-in-law’s health fade.

“He couldn’t smell so he never wanted to eat. There were a lot of different complications. He was in and out of the doctor’s offices,” she said. “He couldn’t withstand just daily living anymore. He had diabetic complications as well.”

(Left) A note found taped on Bill Nickelby’s car about an hour after he was hospitalized on Aug. 12, 2018; (middle) Mr. Nickelby recovers in a hospital; (right) the wound left on Mr. Nickelby’s head. (Courtesy of Kim Nickelby)

On Thursday, Maszy was still waiting for the coroner’s report explaining Nickelby’s exact cause of death. She said he frequented the emergency room in the years following the violent attack and a number of medical factors piled up. Maszy said her brother-in-law “suffered a lot” and she’s “100% sure this happened to him because of his head injury.”

Maszy set up an online fundraiser to help Nickelby’s two kids and wife, Kim, who’s left with pending medical bills and expenses from the memorial service. Regardless of the autopsy results, Maszy said the family won’t seek any legal avenues.

“Through the heartbreak, we are not going to pursue anything further. My sister can’t take it,” she said.

Maszy described Nickelby as a prankster who liked to play jokes. When he was in good health, he loved to snowboard, ride his motorcycle and travel. She said Nickelby was a man who “lived a good life and it got cut short.”

“He’ll be missed,” she added.

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