Murder charge unlikely in Glenwood Springs shooting last spring after victim died

Prosecutors apparently do not intend to file first-degree murder charges against the defendant who’s charged in an April 2021 domestic violence-related shooting in Glenwood Springs in which the victim was paralyzed and eventually died late last year.

A slew of motions filed by the defense recently in the attempted murder case against Padrikea Nichols, 36, of Silt, seek to suppress certain statements and evidence in the case.

Padrikea Nichols
Garfield County Detention Center booking photo

Public defender Alex Haynes also requests that the 9th District Attorney’s Office turn over information pertaining to the death of Thomas Powell in November 2021.

Thomas was married to Nichols’ ex-wife, and the shooting occurred after an alleged verbal argument and confrontation involving the three over their relationship.

“The defense is aware that Mr. Powell is deceased and the District Attorney’s Office is investigating that death,” Haynes wrote in a Jan. 9 motion that’s pending before Garfield District Judge John Neiley.

“Counsel recently learned that the (district attorney) does not intend to file a class one felony based on what they know,” Haynes wrote. “While there is a stated intention not to file first-degree murder charges at this time, any changes to that would vastly effect this case.”

To prepare, the defense asks to be provided with information pertaining to Powell’s death, including “ballistics, underlying blood test data and witness statements.”

Powell, who was 26, died Nov. 12, 2021, in New Rochelle, N.Y., outside of New York City. The death was being investigated by Westchester County, N.Y., medical examiners, but results of that investigation have not yet entered into the case against Nichols.

As it stands, Nichols is charged with attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault in connection with the shooting that occurred a little after 8 p.m. April 26, 2021, behind a home in the 800 block of Pitkin Avenue in downtown Glenwood Springs.

Nichols has claimed self-defense in the incident, in which Glenwood police officers arrived to find Powell bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. He was air-lifted to a trauma center in Denver, where he underwent multiple surgeries and was hospitalized for a lengthy period of time.

As recently as an Oct. 21, 2021, preliminary hearing in the case, according to representations by prosecutors, Powell was living in New York and reportedly paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator.

After the shooting incident, Nichols fled the scene but was arrested later that night at his home in Silt. A handgun found in his home was allegedly connected with the shooting.

Nichols remains in the Garfield County Jail on $250,000 bond.

The request for information about Powell’s death and several other defense motions are scheduled to be heard by Judge Neiley on Feb. 11. The case is scheduled to go to trial over two weeks in late March and early April.

Also among the defense motions is a request of the judge to suppress statements made by Nichols following his arrest to a Garfield County Department of Human Services worker related to children that Nichols and his ex-wife had together.

Those statements were obtained against Nichols’ rights and “were not volunteered but rather the product of interrogation,” Haynes argues in the Jan. 10 motion. Nichols was not advised of his rights before that interview, according to the motion.

Additional motions seek to suppress information obtained from Nichols’ cell phone, and to determine whether “child hearsay” should be admissible in the case.

The night before the shooting, according to police testimony at the Oct. 21 preliminary hearing, Nichols and his ex-wife were at a downtown bar-restaurant drinking when Powell called the woman’s cell phone.

A loud three-way argument over the phone speaker prompted a call to police to come and intervene. Nichols allegedly indicated to police officers at that time that if something were to happen between him and Powell he would be acting in self-defense. Nichols’ parting words that night were allegedly something along the lines of “pop, pop, pop,” according to police testimony in the case.

The next night, Nichols allegedly came to his ex-wife’s Glenwood Springs residence on suspicion that Powell had threatened her during an argument. Nichols claims he acted in self-defense when he shot Powell, who was later found to be carrying a gun himself, and that it was Powell who was the aggressor.

Prosecutors have maintained that the five shots fired by Nichols, including two that hit Powell and a fifth that was fired after he was on the ground but missed, suggests Nichols intended to kill Powell.

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

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