Defendant in Glenwood Springs shooting to face trial for attempted murder |

Defendant in Glenwood Springs shooting to face trial for attempted murder

A Silt man accused of shooting and seriously injuring the husband of his ex-wife in Glenwood Springs in April is headed for trial on attempted first-degree murder and assault charges.

Padrikea Nichols, 36, has claimed self defense in the incident that left Thomas Powell paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator, according to testimony from police investigators revealed in a preliminary hearing before Garfield County District Judge John Neiley Thursday.

After the nearly five-hour-long hearing, Neiley said prosecutors met the burden of proof to bind the case over for trial. A two-week trial is scheduled for March 28-April 8, 2022.

Padrikea Nichols
Garfield County Detention Center booking photo

Following the April 26, 2021, shooting behind a residence in the 800 block of Pitkin Avenue in downtown Glenwood Springs, the case file was sealed by another judge who initially presided due to the sensitive nature of video and other evidence in the case.

Thursday’s hearing was the first time many of the details of the incident were publicly aired.

According to questioning of Glenwood Springs Police Department investigators by Deputy District Attorney James Stone and Public Defender Alex Haynes, officers were called to the residence about 8:19 p.m. that night.

Powell was found bleeding from what ended up being two gunshot wounds from a handgun, one to the upper leg and another to his face. Powell was ultimately air-flighted to a Denver trauma center, was hospitalized for a lengthy period of time and underwent multiple surgeries.

Security video from a neighboring residence caught the events of that night, the apparent culmination of a dispute between Nichols and Powell that had been brewing for some time leading up to the shooting, according to testimony at Thursday’s hearing.

A short video clip, less than 2 minutes long, was shown in court. It showed Powell waiting on the back porch as Nichols slowly drove up in a pickup truck.

Powell is seen tearing his shirt off and aggressively approaching as Nichols drives up. Nichols then starts to back away before stopping and getting out to confront Powell.

Nichols eventually retrieved what police said was a Sccy brand 9mm pistol, taken into evidence when his Silt home was searched later that night, and walks back around the vehicle.

After firing two warning shots into the ground, he then allegedly turned the gun on Powell, shooting him twice. As witnesses, including Nichols’ ex, attempt to get him to get back in the truck and leave, a fifth shot is fired.

Stone argued it was that fifth shot, fired in Powell’s direction but missing as he lay helpless and bleeding on the ground, that proves Nichols intended to kill Powell.

Evidence also revealed that Powell was carrying a handgun in his pocket at the time, a Derringer-style two-round .22-caliber pistol later retrieved from the scene, according to testimony.

However, he never took it out of his pocket during the confrontation, and it was later determined that the pistol was not loaded.

According to testimony, the dispute had actually been building between the two for some time, including the night before the shooting when Nichols and his ex-wife were at a downtown bar-restaurant drinking, and apparently had a loud three-way argument with Powell over a speaker phone that resulted in the police being called.

Threats were made by both men during that particular argument, police testified, but it was words uttered by Nichols that Judge Neiley said swayed his ruling, in part, to take the case to trial.

During that argument, and in the presence of police officers who had arrived, Nichols allegedly said he had the right to carry a firearm, and that if something were to happen between him and Powell he would be acting in self defense.

His parting words were allegedly something akin to “pow, pow, pow,” or “pop, pop, pop,” according to testimony at Thursday’s preliminary hearing.

There was also some question whether Nichols intended to shoot Powell when he heard that he had threatened to harm his ex-wife, Powell’s wife, and decided to come over to the house that night.

Haynes attempted through questioning of the police officers to show that Powell was the aggressor, and Nichols was acting in self-defense.

“There is no clear evidence that he planned a killing,” Haynes argued before the judge.

Stone, however, argued there is ample evidence that Nichols acted with deliberation and intent to shoot and kill Powell.

Neiley sided with the prosecution for purposes of taking the case to trial.

The judge also denied a defense request to reduce bond for Nichols ahead of the trial. He remains in the Garfield County Jail on $250,000 bond and has been in jail since his arrest near his home in Silt the night of April 26 following the incident.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.