Trials & Litigation

Could another client's husband have shot divorce attorney? Defense points to two possibilities


The government says Bruce J. Nozolino shot a Colorado attorney through the window of his Colorado Springs law office on Jan. 23, 2002.

Motivated by a desire to strike back at the lawyer who helped Nozolino’s wife gain custody of the couple’s children during a hard-fought divorce, the former corporate software engineer saw his chance when John Ciccolella left his blinds open as he worked that night and put a bullet in the lawyer’s eye, prosecutors told jurors at Nozolino’s trial. He is charged with the attempted murder of Ciccolella and the murder of another man who had a brief affair with Nozolino’s wife, years before the murder victim was killed.

But the defense is pointing the finger at the husbands of two other Ciccolella divorce clients, contending that they could have been responsible for the sniper attack on Nozolino in 2002, reports the Gazette.

One witness, heavy equipment operator Chet Schlegel, testified Monday that a “stonefaced” co-worker asked for suggestions about someone who might be willing to kill his wife’s matrimonial lawyer. “He said his wife’s attorney was ruining his life,” Schlegel told the jury. The co-worker subsequently committed suicide in 2004, but his former wife testified that Ciccolella was one of the lawyers who had represented her.

Schlegel said his co-worker didn’t mention the name of the attorney he sought to have killed but rejected a prosecutor’s argument that the his co-worker was just blowing off steam, telling her, “I think he could have followed through easily on the threats that he made.”

Another witness, a former Ciccolella client, told the jury she suspected her ex-husband in the shooting, the newspaper reports. She was at her lawyer’s office on the evening of the shooting, she said, and believed her husband, who “was angry with everyone,” had been following her.

The defense has said that one individual actually confessed to shooting Ciccolella, but hasn’t yet presented witnesses in support of that claim.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Divorce lawyer testifies at murder trial of former client’s ex-husband”

The Gazette: “Friend testifies about Nozolino’s whereabouts during attorney shooting”

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