Sentencing postponed for Silt shooting accomplice
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Nichole Brownell’s sentence hearing for her role as an accomplice in the 2006 shooting of a Colorado State Patrol trooper was postponed Friday at her attorney’s request.
She remains in the Garfield County Jail with no possibility of bond after allegedly getting a one-way airline ticket to Puerto Rico. Police said she was arrested after checking in for the flight at the Denver International Airport last Saturday. An anonymous source discovered her travel plans and passed on the information to law enforcement, an investigator said.
Chip McCrory, Brownell’s attorney, recommended postponing the hearing so Brownell could be screened for a community corrections program. But District Judge Denise Lynch said Brownell isn’t eligible. McCrory argued that there can be exceptions.
“When you take a look at her criminal history, which is why probation is so negative on her, it’s all substance abuse, your honor,” McCrory said.
Lynch said she wouldn’t sentence Brownell to community corrections anyway, based on her flight risk.
McCrory said Brownell was just arrested at DIA and said he hasn’t had time to prepare. He also plans to file another motion in the case.
“I am not prepared as her attorney to go forward at this time,” McCrory said.
He said Brownell was told she wouldn’t face new charges for allegedly trying to fly to Puerto Rico.
Police said Steven Appl, 33, shot former CSP trooper Brian Koch in the arm during an Oct. 24, 2006 traffic stop south of Silt. Appl shot himself in the back of a truck at a police checkpoint the next night.
Brownell, 41, helped Appl hide and arranged a ride for him, police said, and Cori Graham, 29, of DeBeque, also helped Appl by driving him in the truck ride that ended at the police checkpoint. She has a trial scheduled for Dec. 8. Her attorney has said Appl had a gun and forced her to drive.
Wayne Hangs, who owned the home Brownell was staying in, was also accused as an accomplice. He received a plea deal in exchange for testimony against Brownell and Graham. He was sentenced in June to 18 months probation under a deferred judgment and sentence, meaning the felony could disappear from his record if he cooperates and doesn’t get into trouble.
Hangs, a 46-year-old truck driver, said in court that he was sorry about Koch’s shooting and he wished he had spoken up about it long ago.
Brownell faces sentencing for the accomplice charges on Sept. 19. She’s also accused of drug distribution in an ongoing 2005 case.