What Happened To Gypsy Rose Blanchard's Boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn?

Early reporting can often lack key facts that complicate a news narrative, but it's not often that a story shifts as dramatically as the Dee Dee Blanchard murder. Initially described as the murder of a long-suffering mother whose disabled daughter was feared kidnapped, sympathy radically shifted as Blanchard's many deceptions unraveled after her death. For years, she had maintained that her daughter, Gypsy Rose Blanchard, suffered everything from sleep apnea to leukemia, and she subjected Gypsy Rose to serious medical interventions. Neighbors, caregivers, and charities were all deceived. And when her body was found in June 2015 with Gypsy Rose unaccounted for, friends and local reporters in Springfield, Missouri feared both might be dead and began raising money for a funeral (per BuzzFeed News).

But Gypsy Rose was not sick, had never been sick. She was a victim of Munchausen by proxy syndrome, a psychological condition wherein a caregiver fakes or creates symptoms in the person they're caring for to gain attention. And after years of physical and psychological abuse, she sought to escape through a relationship with Nicholas Godejohn, a Big Bend, Wisconsin man she had met online. The two built an elaborate fantasy life in chats, and as early as 2014, they discussed killing Gypsy Rose's mother.

After doing the deed, they were quickly discovered by the authorities and surrendered without incident. Gypsy Rose's health on arrest upended her mother's lies. She and Godejohn both agreed that he was the one who stabbed Blanchard. But the details of the planning — and the fate of Godejohn, who is in prison as of this writing — have been an ongoing and controversial muddle.

Nicholas Godejohn was given life in prison

After she surrendered to the authorities, Gypsy Rose Blanchard's attorney spent months digging through legal and medical records that confirmed her health and the depth of Dee Dee Blanchard's deceptions (per BuzzFeed News). Based on his findings, he negotiated a plea deal in 2016: Gypsy Rose confessed to second-degree murder, and she was given Missouri's minimum sentence of 10 years (she was ultimately paroled in December 2023, per People).

Sentencing for Nicholas Godejohn was more complicated. He faced charges of first-degree murder, to which he pleaded not guilty (per ABC News). The defense and the prosecution both accepted that Godejohn was the one who killed Blanchard, but at issue in his November 2018 trial was whether his actions constituted premeditated murder. The Springfield News-Leader reported that Godejohn and Gypsy Rose had been discussing the murder for over a year, and he had not only confessed to the police that he killed Blanchard but also that he contemplated raping her first. Per Cosmopolitan, he also thought of having sex with Blanchard's corpse after the murder, and Gypsy Rose later claimed that she let him have sex with her to stop him (their accounts disagree on whether it was consensual).

Against that, the defense argued that Godejohn, who is autistic, was not capable of premeditated murder and instead was the willing accomplice of Gypsy Rose. He claimed as much himself to ABC News ahead of the trial. But text messages exchanged before the murder indicated he was involved in its planning, and in November 2018, Godejohn was found guilty of first-degree murder. He was given a mandatory life sentence in February 2019.

Godejohn has sought a new trial since his conviction

Since his conviction, Nicholas Godejohn has sought a new trial. In 2019, his attorney made the case for one even before sentencing was handed down, in part on the grounds that the defense's psychologist was not allowed to testify regarding Godejohn's diminished capacity due to his autism. Judge David Jones, even as he denied the motion, conceded that the argument was worth considering at a future date (via the Springfield News-Leader). But an attempt to set aside Godejohn's verdict on the grounds of poor representation was denied by the same judge in May 2023 (per KY3). He sought a new trial again later that year, and as of December 2023, a decision by a panel of three judges in the matter was still pending.

Godejohn has also granted interviews to present his side of the story. To Oxygen's "Killer Couples," he expressed frustration at the coverage given to Gypsy Rose Blanchard at his expense. "I wasn't being able to actually voice my opinion, I wasn't able to let everyone know what I truly feel," he said. Godejohn suggested that Gypsy Rose hadn't fully taken responsibility for her actions, insisted that he had, and said that he wanted to be a "role model" in owning up to mistakes to keep others from heading down his path. "At the same time," he added, "I want to basically let everyone know that I'm not just this cold killer." For her part, Gypsy Rose — who testified for the defense at Godejohn's trial — spoke to Dr. Phil and said her former boyfriend told her that he had multiple personalities, including violent ones that threatened her (via YouTube).