Man accused of stalking Aspen couple faces competency evaluation | AspenTimes.com

Man accused of stalking Aspen couple faces competency evaluation

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

Eric J. Nilan

Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols on Monday ordered a state Department of Human Services competency evaluation for a man accused of stalking an Aspen couple in August and leaving poems and a box of candy at their house.

Eric J. Nilan, 33, described in court records as a transient, faces a felony stalking charge as well as a count of third-degree trespassing, which is considered a petty offense. He allegedly left the "gifts" at the residence between Aug. 11 and Aug. 14, telling police that "God" told him to do it.

The judge's order was a response to a motion filed by his public defender, Sara Steele, who said she had developed serious concerns about Nilan's ability to proceed with his case.

"At this time, despite several attempts, it has become clear that it is impossible for Mr. Nilan to assist with his defense," Steele argued in the motion filed Oct. 10.

Prosecutor Andrea Bryan did not object.

On Aug. 11, the couple reported that two poems were left on their front porch. "The content of the poems was relatively innocuous; however, the last line of one stated, 'Lacking time to spend with you. Desperate mess to undo,'" states an affidavit supporting the arrest, written by officer Jeff Fain.

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The next day, police received a multimedia message from a camera they left outside the couple's home. The message contained an image of a man leaving another note on the front porch. Police found Nilan and warned him not to leave any more poems at the house.

Then, on Aug. 14, police learned that Nilan had been back to the house, leaving a box of candy. An officer found him at City Market that day and warned him again to stay away from the residence.

Meanwhile, the couple spoke with police and said they were having trouble sleeping as a result of Nilan's continued contact. They also said they had a child in the house and were concerned for their family's safety.

Police were dispatched to the couple's home again when Nilan allegedly showed up in the early morning hours of Aug. 16.

"Nilan stated that he needed to speak with a woman in the residence," Fain's affidavit said.

He was arrested and taken to the Pitkin County Jail, where he has remained in custody under $5,000 bond.

In other court action:

• A man who was arrested early Sunday morning in a downtown Aspen alley and accused of possessing a bag containing the illegal drug MDMA, better known as ecstasy or Molly, made his initial appearance in Pitkin County District Court on Monday. Nikolai W. Petkov, 21, of Aspen, faces one count of possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested around 1:25 a.m. after police officer Adam Loudon, while on patrol, found him in the alley between the 500 blocks of East Cooper Avenue and East Hyman Avenue holding a baggie containing a white powdery substance, which later tested positive for MDMA. Petrov was advised to apply for legal aid through the public defender's office and told to return to court Nov. 3.

andre@aspentimes.com

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