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Divorce attorney testifies in Nozolino case

January 16, 2014 Updated: January 21, 2014 at 5:36 pm
photo - Bruce Nozolino
Bruce Nozolino 

The night a bullet flew into his Palmer Lake home, veteran divorce lawyer John Ciccolella looked out a window just in time to see the shooter's car disappear into the night.

He couldn't see the driver or identify the make or model of the vehicle, which appeared shapeless between the glare of headlights and tail lights.

But when Palmer Lake police asked him who might be responsible, he believed he knew the answer.

"Mr. Nozolino," he told them. "He's the only name that would come to mind."

Ex-wife testifies that Nozolino threatened her daily, sexually assaulted her

Nearly thirteen years later, Ciccolella took the stand Thursday and recounted the increasingly volatile legal battle that led him to suspect Bruce J. Nozolino, a man known to him then as the aggrieved, angry husband in the most contentious divorce of his career.

No one was wounded in the Ciccolella home, but according to prosecutors, the June 2001 shooting marked the first volley in a decade-spanning series of revenge shootings - including a 2008 murder - that authorities attribute to Nozolino's lingering bitterness over the divorce.

Six months after the shooting into his home, Ciccolella was again targeted - losing his eye to a sniper's bullet fired into his downtown Colorado Springs law office as he worked a late night.

Ciccolella discussed the first of the two shootings during Thursday's testimony and also recounted a months-long barrage of court filings by Nozolino accusing him of fraud, "perjurous conduct," "blatant" misrepresentations and "procedural tap dances," among other bad acts.

Each of Nozolino's complaints were found to be groundless, and a judge ended up ordering Nozolino to pay his wife $35,000 to defray her legal expenses, he said.

"It seemed to never end," said Ciccolella, who once unsuccessfully tried to have Nozolino prosecuted for trespassing for dumping snow-laden toys in the lobby of his law office, in what Ciccolella saw as petty retribution for being ordered to return the property.

Ciccolella has yet to be cross-examined by attorneys for Nozolino, who say their client is being accused of shootings he didn't commit, based on "theories" and assumptions.

They say authorities have no physical evidence and no eyewitness accounts linking him to the crimes, and will portray Nozolino as a "gun nut" and a difficult person.

Ciccolella is expected to retake the stand at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, when the trial continues after a previously scheduled four-day break.

Earlier on Thursday, Nozolino's attorneys sought to raise questions about the veracity of Nozolino's ex-wife, who told the jury Wednesday that she was blackmailed and sexually assaulted by Nozolino after confessing to an affair.

Attorney Jesse Glassman elicited testimony that Beverly Nozolino didn't tell anyone about the rape report until December 2013, shortly before her husband's trial began.

"If you truly considered that rape, why didn't you call police that night?"

When she replied that she was afraid of her husband's threats to refer her for prosecution, Glassman asked her why she felt able to call 911 a few months later when Nozolino allegedly threw a glass of Kool-Aid at her. Glassman asked if Beverly Nozolino had any documents to support her story that Nozolino tried to blackmail her into agreeing to her demands. She answered that Nozolino stole them while rooting through the trunk of her car.

Suggesting an alibi, Glassman pointed out that Beverly Nozolino told authorities that she thought Nozolino had custody of their two daughters during the weekend authorities say he shot into a judge's home Oct. 13, 2001.

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