Trial begins in Glenwood Springs attempted murder case stemming from April 2021 shooting

A trial began this week for a Garfield County man accused of attempted murder resulting from a domestic violence-related shooting incident in downtown Glenwood Springs in April of 2021.

Padrikea Nichols, 37, faces charges of first-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault causing serious bodily injury using a deadly weapon.

Nichols allegedly used a 9-mm handgun to shoot the husband of his ex-wife, 26-year-old Thomas “TJ” Powell, around 8 p.m. on April 25, 2021, in a back driveway at a home in the 800 block of Pitkin Avenue in Glenwood Springs.

Powell was seriously injured and was ultimately air-lifted to a Denver hospital, where he underwent extensive surgeries and was left paralyzed, according to court records in the case.

He died in November 2021 in New York City while living with family, but it was never stated by prosecutors whether his death was a direct result of the injuries sustained in the Glenwood shooting, so the attempted murder charge stood.

The confrontation followed a dispute that had been brewing since the night before, in which Powell had allegedly threatened to harm his wife, Nichols’ ex, Jenna Powell. 

Nichols has claimed he was acting in self defense, and that it was TJ Powell who was the aggressor in the confrontation. 

Nichols’ public defenders have also said Jenna Powell was complicit in inciting the confrontatio and was trying to make TJ Powell jealous by going out the night before with Nichols. 

Opening statements from Ninth District Attorney Jefferson Cheney and public defender Elise Myer were made on Tuesday morning before the 14 members of the jury, including two alternates, who were selected on Monday.

Cheney showed the jury a video from an on-site security camera that captured the incident. In it, TJ Powell is seen taking off his shirt and approaching Nichols’ vehicle, which had pulled up at the end of the driveway on School Street, located about a half block south of the Glenwood Springs Police Department.

Nichols at first appears to start to pull away, then stops and exchanges words with Powell before getting out of the pickup truck with a gun and initially firing warning shots at the ground and in the air.

A total of five shots were fired during the incident, Cheney said, two of which hit Powell, one in the upper leg and another in the face/neck area. 

Instead of calling for help and attempting to explain to authorities that he felt threatened and acted in self-defense, Nichols fled the scene and was later arrested at his home in Silt, Cheney said.

Cheney said it was Nichols who had made threatening comments in a heated phone conversation with TJ Powell the night of April 24 — when he found out Nichols and Jenna Powell were at KC’s Winghouse together.

A loud argument on speaker phone between the two prompted Glenwood Springs police to be called. No arrests were made that night, but Nichols allegedly said that if anything happened between him and TJ Powell, it would be in self-defense.

He was allegedly overheard saying “pop, pop,” as he walked away from the officers who were called to the incident.

The next day, Cheney said relations between TJ Powell and his wife further deteriorated, and that she was preparing to move out of state. At some point later in the day, Nichols was on the phone with his stepdaughter and overheard TJ Powell making threats to Jenna.

Although he was advised not to come to the house, he did anyway, leading to the violent confrontation, Cheney said.

For the defense, Myer, in her opening statement to the jury, said evidence will show that it was TJ Powell who was the aggressor the night of the shooting, and that Jenna Powell had been trying to make him jealous.

“Things were not good (between them) and hadn’t been for a while,” Myer told the jury. “Mr. Nichols was caught somewhere in the middle of it all.”

TJ Powell was “drunk, angry and armed” when he approached Nichols’ vehicle before the shooting. A Derringer pistol was found on TJ Powell, and, at one point in the video, Myer said he appears to be reaching for it before he’s struck by one of Nichols’ bullets.

Myer said TJ Powell had a blood-alcohol content that night of .457%, more than five times the legal limit for DUI.

Nichols’ trial was twice postponed, once in April and again in July, when the defense filed for the case to be dismissed over claims that the District Attorney’s Office had failed to disclose key evidence in the case related to Jenna Powell’s role in the incident.

The trial is scheduled for two weeks. Nichols has been free on a personal recognizance bond since the July hearing, after having been in the Garfield County Jail for over a year since his arrest on a $250,000 bond.

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

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