Parents, lawmakers call for changes after Citgo stabbing

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The parents of 27-year-old Nicole Gates are calling for change a day after the mother of three was found stabbed to death at the Citgo gas station in Bedford Township where she worked late nights.

"There has to be more than one person there," said Nicole's father Ronald Gates. "If there had been two people there, they wouldn't have come in; he wouldn't have come in. That's the way cowards work."

Police say Nicole as closing up shop on Tuesday just before midnight, when 30-year-old Shawn Pike came in to rob the place.

Pike is now charged with open murder and robbery.

21-year-old Dustin Hartman was also charged Thursday with being an accessory after the crime.

Now, lawmakers are hoping to speed up a bill that could help protect overnight workers.

Nicole's murder has renewed the push for tougher laws at gas stations across the state, as her family strongly believes she would be here still if things were different at that station in Bedford Township.

"These companies are letting these young girls close by themselves; no protection, and this happens, and what now?" Ron Gates asked.

Family and friends are now calling for more strict regulations surrounding overnight hours at gas stations and convenience stores.

"I think at the end of the day, it's always going to be difficult to prevent someone from committing a heinous crime," said Rep. Sean McCann, a co-sponsor of the bill called "Jessica's Law" after the Norton Shores mother who disappeared from a gas station over a year ago.

She was alone and security cameras were not installed, and she hasn't been seen since.

The bill would mandate working security cameras if on the job alone, or require two workers in the absence of cameras while working overnight--defined as between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Rep. McCann is one of 26 co-sponsors of the bill, and says there hasn't been a hearing on it as of yet.

"You really don't want to see these things keep happening and have no action taken," he said.

According to investigators, there have been 20 serious calls at that station in Bedford Township during the last few years.

There was a robbery in 2011, but most others were for stealing gas and credit card fraud.

"He's destroyed our family, he destroyed her kids lives," said Nicole's mother, Wendy Gates. "They're going to live the rest of their lives with no mother."

We've reached out to the owners of the Citgo station, but we're told they're on vacation.

We've also called different managers, who would not take our calls.