Aspen stalker poet pleads guilty to felony

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times
Eric Nilan

An Aspen man pleaded guilty Monday to felony stalking nearly eight months after police arrested him on suspicion of leaving poems and candy on the front porch of a family’s home.

Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols approved the plea agreement for Eric J. Nilan, 34, who has been in custody since his Aug. 16 arrest.

Nilan awaits a sentencing hearing May 4. Parties have tentatively agreed to a four-year deferred judgment, but Nichols said she must review a pre-sentence report before she OKs the deal.

The couple who were targeted by Nilan attended the hearing. Speaking to the court, the husband wished Nilan well but said he doesn’t want his family to be bothered by him again. Nilan said he did not know the family that he stalked.

“The appropriateness of the deal sounds OK, I guess,” the husband said. “I came here for the safety and concern of my family. … This was a long couple of weeks we had to deal with this situation, and quite frankly we don’t want to deal with it again. Concern about my family’s safety and my wife’s safety is of upmost importance to me.”

On Aug. 11, the couple reported to police that two poems were left on their front porch. Police learned of Nilan’s identity after they placed camera outside of the couple’s home. Police warned Nilan, but he returned again Aug. 14, leaving a box of candy at the residence.

Nichols previously ordered Nilan to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, and a following evaluation by the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health deemed him incompetent to proceed with his case. He was subsequently placed on medication that brought him back to competency.

Nilan told the judge he has 20 years of education, including college and graduate school.

Nilan’s poetry, according to an arrest affidavit by Aspen Police investigator Jeff Fain, “was relatively innocuous; however, the last line of one stated, ‘Lacking time to spend with you. Desperate mess to undo.”

Police also said that Nilan told them “God” instructed him to do it.


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