Peter Nardi, the local man accused of sexual assault and violating bail-bond conditions while he has been out of jail, had his bond reduced Monday from $108,500 to $32,500.
Nardi failed to appear for a court hearing Sept. 16, leading Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court to issue an arrest warrant. He was taken into custody the next day at a friend’s home in Aspen.
His attorney, John Van Ness of Woody Creek, said his client suffered from something akin to a nervous breakdown.
Nardi’s missing court was not because he was trying to flee the jurisdiction or because he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Van Ness said.
“He was at his wit’s end,” he said.
Nardi faces four felony counts, including the original sexual assault charge, which would likely result in a life sentence upon conviction, Nichols said during Monday’s bond hearing.
That is because, under state law, sexual assault convictions come with indeterminate prison sentences, the length of which are determined by prison officials. Few people convicted of such crimes have been released from Colorado’s prisons.
Nardi has fled the country before when he faced felony charges in the early 2000s, said Deputy District Attorney Andrea Bryan, arguing that his bond shouldn’t be reduced at all.
She said she plans on filing another felony bail-bond violation charge — which would be Nardi’s third such count — because of his court absence.
Bryan also read Nardi’s statements to the Aspen Daily News last week in which he said: “I am not going to be controlled by the court ... I will face my own demise.”
But Van Ness said nothing had changed in the potential punishment Nardi faces for allegedly assaulting his former girlfriend in April. He sought a bond in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.
The alleged victim has made graphic accusations against Nardi, including that he sexually assaulted, smothered and threatened to kill her. Nardi has denied any wrongdoing, contending the woman is fabricating the allegations.
“Given the severity of the charges, it would make sense that he was distraught,” Nichols said. “It doesn’t really explain why he failed to show.”
Two of the felony charges are related to Nardi’s alleged consumption of alcohol, which would be a violation of his bond conditions.
“He drinks in public, is what it comes down to,” Nichols said. “He doesn’t seem to respect the court process.”
She set his bond at $25,000 for the sexual assault case, and a combined $7,500 for the two bond violation cases. As conditions of his release, Nardi must sign a contract with the Aspen Counseling Center, check in with the facility daily and abide by counseling recommendations.
Nardi, who remained in the Pitkin County Jail on Monday evening, is due back in court Oct. 7.