Sentencing set for Peter Nardi, former Aspen bartender, on sexual-assault conviction
July 8, 2014
A sentencing hearing is set for 3 p.m. today in Pitkin County District Court for former Aspen bartender Peter Nardi, who was found guilty April 18 of sexual assault, attempted second-degree assault, false imprisonment and other charges stemming from an incident with a woman he had dated.
Nardi's attorneys, John Van Ness, of Carbondale, and Colleen Scissors, of Basalt, attempted to delay the sentencing with a motion to continue filed with the court on June 28. They claim that because Nardi did not complete a pre-sentencing psychosexual evaluation that was ordered by the court, a sentencing would be unfair to their client.
Nardi faces 10 years to life in state prison, according to the court. His attorneys sought to reschedule the sentencing hearing to July 24 or later. Judge Gail Nichols, who presided over his jury trial from April 8 to April 18, denied the motion on the grounds that Nardi must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 10 years.
"… It appears to the court that it is not necessary to await the results of the psychosexual evaluation because defendant cannot be considered for probation — he must be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence to the Department of Corrections," Nichols says in a written order. "Logically, there is no need for a psychosexual evaluation before sentencing in a case in which the defendant must go to prison. The court does not view that evaluation as something helpful to either party for sentencing purposes."
Nichols' order also adds, "Defendant has no history of sexual assault. He does have some history of domestic violence. The facts of this case show that defendant badly and violently beat the victim over an extended period of time and only part of the beating involved a sexual assault. The court recognizes that the defendant asserts that the psychosexual report 'is an important component of a fair and informed sentencing,' but defendant has not explained why this is so and the court does not believe it is so in this particular case."
The defense's motion says that Nardi has accepted responsibility for delaying the pre-sentencing report through his refusal to participate in the psychosexual evaluation. He declined for more than two weeks, "because of his concerns over his constitutional right to remain silent … ," the motion says.
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On June 13, however, "(Nardi) stated that after further consideration he had changed his mind and decided to cooperate fully," according to the motion. The psychosexual-evaluation process, which takes an estimated two weeks, was rescheduled to start on July 3, according to the Western Colorado Counseling Center of Grand Junction.
Nardi has been held in the Pitkin County Jail since the guilty verdicts were returned on April 18.
A Texas woman whom Nardi dated from August 2012 to April 2013 alleged sexual and physical abuse at Nardi's hands. She said Nardi was jealous and controlling throughout much of their relationship. Most of the charges and testimony related to an hours-long ordeal said to have occurred at her rented South Mill Street condominium early in the morning of April 6, 2013.
The woman testified that Nardi was waiting at her house in the dark, unknown to her, when she returned from a party around 12:30 a.m. She said he became angry and shoved her into a towel rack in the bathroom. He then dragged her by the hair to the bedroom, where he proceeded to pin her down.
Over the course of several hours until the sun came up, he smothered her face with a pillow while beating her on each side of the head. He also poured water into her nose and mouth, she said, and shoved his underwear into her mouth.
She said she had trouble breathing, and at one point passed out. She also claimed that Nardi opened her eyelids with his fingers and spit into them. He also sexually assaulted her via digital penetration, she alleged.
During the trial, Nardi took the stand in his own defense, to no avail.