Criminal Justice

Divorce lawyer testifies at murder trial of former client's ex-husband

At first, although there was snow on the ground, John Ciccolella thought a lightning bolt had knocked him to the floor of his Colorado Springs law office on Jan. 23, 2002.

But that wasn’t what happened. After a shot had been fired into his home about six months earlier, the matrimonial practitioner had installed a surveillance camera and locked the door at work and started keeping the window blinds closed both there and at home. He hadn’t closed the blinds in his office that night, though, because he wanted to look at the snowfall and someone had shot him in the eye, reports the Gazette.

“A shockwave hit me and went through my entire body, and it was severe,” Ciccolella told jurors Tuesday, testifying at the murder and attempted murder trial of Bruce J. Nozolino, now 52.

The ex-husband of one of Ciccolella’s clients, Nozolino lost custody of the couple’s children during a hard-fought divorce initiated in the late 1990s. He is being tried for a series of shootings that took place over a period of years. He is accused of wounding Ciccolella; attempting to shoot the judge who presided in the Nozolino divorce case by firing into his home in 2001; and slaying in 2008 a man with whom Nozolino’s by then ex-wife, Beverly, reportedly had a brief affair years earlier, while she and Nozolino were still married

While Ciccolella didn’t see who shot at him during either the incident at his home or the workplace shooting, he suspected Nozolino from the start.

But lawyers for Nozolino, once a software engineer for Lockheed Martin, say their client is at trial due to theories, not evidence. Cross-examining Ciccolella, defense attorney Tina Tussay pointed out that he gave other names to police after the law office shooting. Among them was a man who had weapons, previously threatened Ciccolella and was at his law office earlier on the day of the shooting incident. Ciccolella said he gave authorities information about anyone who could conceivably have been responsible, but was certain Nozolino was their man.

See also: “Divorce case sparked attacks on lawyer, judge and others, jurors in murder trial are told”

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