Glenwood Springs attempted murder trial postponed again; defense sought dismissal over evidence nondisclosure by DA
An attempted murder trial stemming from an April 2021 shooting incident outside a downtown Glenwood Springs home has been postponed a second time, with fingers pointed at the 9th District Attorney’s Office for failure to disclose key evidence in the case.
In the meantime, the defendant, Padrikea Nichols, 36, of Silt, is now free on a personal recognizance bond after having been in the Garfield County Jail since his April 26, 2021, arrest on a $250,000 bond.
A two-week trial in the case was to begin this week until the local State Public Defender’s Office filed a July 13 motion to have the case dismissed.
The request was based on prior communication between Adele Campbell, mother of alleged victim Thomas “TJ” Powell, and the District Attorney’s Office that took place in late February.
That communication came to the attention of the defense team only in the weeks leading up to the scheduled July 18 trial start, according to the motion filed by local public defenders Elise Myer and Alex Haynes.
It’s the second trial postponement in the case, which was originally slated to go before a jury in late March. It was continued then at the request of the defense, also related to evidentiary questions and testimony from investigating police officers at a February hearing.
According to the latest motion, in her conversations with the DA’s Office, Campbell is said to have recalled telling her son to back away from the situation and to stay away from the home of Jenna Powell — his wife at the time and Nichols’ ex-wife — the night of the confrontation that resulted in Powell being severely wounded when he was allegedly shot by Nichols with a handgun.
Powell, 26, died Nov. 12, 2021, while with his mother in New York City. However, it was never disclosed in the Glenwood Springs case whether his death was a direct result of his injuries from the gunshot wound, which left Powell paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator.
District Attorney Jeff Cheney never sought murder charges, sticking with the initial attempted murder charge.
Also in Campbell’s communication with the DA’s Office, according to the defense motion, she allegedly suggested it was Jenna Powell who incited the confrontation between the two men.
“(Campbell) firmly believes, and the evidence supports, that Jenna Powell did what she could to make TJ Powell jealous … (and) to incite a volatile situation involving Mr. Nichols,” the defense claims in its motion.
That evidence was subject to mandatory disclosure rules by the DA’s Office, the defense maintains.
Garfield County District Judge John Neiley did not immediately dismiss the case but did reschedule the trial for Sept. 16-29. The judge also left the door open for the defense to file additional motions in the meantime based on the new evidence.
Cheney, in an email to the Post Independent on Thursday, said he ordered a transcript of the court hearing and judge’s ruling the day of the hearing, and could not comment until reviewing that transcript, “which is the most accurate representation of what occurred during that hearing,” he said.
Defense attorneys maintain the new evidence supports Nichols’ self-defense claim.
“It is possible evidence of Jenna Powell inciting a situation would support a Heat of Passion crime,” the defense wrote in the July 13 motion. “This is a lesser offense of what Mr. Nichols is charged with.
“Mr. Powell’s mother, who spent the last 6 months of his life with him in New York, provided the district attorney with factual information that not just negates the culpable mental state of Mr. Nichols, but also supports the affirmative self-defense claim that (he) has asserted all along.”
Nichols’ attorneys argued the self-defense claim at an Oct. 21 preliminary hearing when the case was bound over for trial. Nichols allegedly fired at Powell multiple times with a handgun during the confrontation outside Jenna Powell’s home in the 800 block of Pitkin Avenue around 8 p.m. April 26, 2021, hitting him twice.
Prosecutors argued at the October preliminary hearing that a fifth shot fired by Nichols when Powell was already incapacitated, which missed, proves he intended to kill Powell.
According to court documents, the dispute began the night before with a heated phone conversation between Powell and Nichols, who was with his ex-wife at a downtown Glenwood Springs bar. Glenwood Springs police were called to intervene, and said in the initial arrest affidavit that Nichols suggested he had a gun and was prepared to defend himself against Powell.
After Powell was shot, he was air-lifted to a Denver hospital, where he underwent several surgeries before relocating to New York.
Nichols has claimed it was Powell who was the aggressor when the two confronted each other the night of the shooting. Nichols fled the scene, but was arrested at his home in Silt later that night.
Noting that the case was to have gone to trial in March, the defense team also said Nichols could have been convicted without them ever knowing about the communications between Campbell and the DA’s Office.
Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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