Nicholas Cordova: Who Was He?
Nicholas Cordova, 40, spent his childhood growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona- a bordering city of Phoenix. In his teen years, Nicholas would attend Chandler High School, where he excelled in sports- being on both the football and wrestling teams. He graduated in 1998, where he then went on to become a personal trainer, assisting others with their fitness goals. Later in life, Nicholas would shift gears as far as his career, and enter the heating & ventilation trade.
Nicholas would meet his wife, Alysha, in 2003, at his sister’s graduation party when his cousin had introduced them. The two hit it off at once. They started dating, lasting for numerous years before they decided they would marry in October of 2011. The couple would go on to have two children- welcoming a baby boy named Cruize in 2012, and a baby girl they named Capri in 2015. The family was very close, with Nicholas being characterized as a devoted dad and attentive husband. They were fortunate enough to have a close support system of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents residing around them, as they both grew up in Arizona. Things were going very nicely for the family.
In 2018, Nick bought half of an established cooling and heating company in the East valley named Gilbert Air, making him the co-owner of the business. The other co-owner was a man named David Sweetman, who wanted to be a “silent” partner-leaving the day-to-day tasks to Nicholas, such as organizing the teams and trading with customers. Dave would only come into the office about once a month.
Customers liked Nicholas, and left great reviews about him online, speaking about how kind and hard-working he was. Nick aspired to grow his half of the business over the following 5 years, where he then schemed to sell it, and devote his time to being with his family.
Over Memorial Day weekend of 2020, the family spent a few days in Forest Lakes, after the stay-at-home order in Phoenix had just expired. Their extensive family and a few friends joined them, and they spent time enjoying what nature had to offer. When the family came back home, it was back to normal, which meant that Nicholas had to head back to work. Alysha was pleased they had this last weekend trip together, leaving her with recollections in the form of chuckling photos of Nicholas and the kids.
On Wednesday, May 27th, Nick was in his office at Gilbert Air, located on the corner of Guadalupe and Cooper Roads in the city of Gilbert, when he received a FaceTime call from his wife. She clarified that Cruize had just learned a cool trick from a TikTok video, and he wanted to show his dad what he had learned. Alysha handed the phone over to her kids before heading into the kitchen to wash some dishes in the sink. She was only half listening to their discussion, but three minutes into the call she had overheard Capri says “Something is wrong with dad,” which got her attention. She hurried back into the living room to grab the phone and check on her husband, but when she did, the screen just showed white- as if it had been dropped or put inside a pocket. The audio was working, nonetheless. She listened and heard some muffled sounds and shuffling, before the noises of someone shouting.
Alysha tried to ask her husband what was happening, but she got no answer. She hurried to grab her other phone and call 911, keeping Nicholas on FaceTime on her iPhone. In shock, she explained to the dispatcher that someone had assaulted her husband in his office, saying this:
”I think they’re beating him… I didn’t see anyone… I’m pretty certain I saw a black glove or gun above… I didn’t hear any shots or anything though. I could hear him shouting, screaming – someone was hitting him.”
While she was still on the phone with 911, Alysha could listen to a male voice on the FaceTime call. (You can hear the call here, but warning, as it is disturbing.) She shouts to the man that she has the police on the phone, asking who he was. She gets no answer, but only those similar muffled sounds. Then she is heard saying “Dave! Pick up the phone!” referring to Nicholas’ co-owner, David Sweetman. The dispatcher hears this interaction and asks Alysha who that is. Alysha, confused with attempting to get Dave’s attention, doesn’t answer back, but then eventually says that it is her husband’s business partner, saying “He just came into the building, I don’t know. He’s just saying ‘Oh my God.’”Police were rapidly dispatched to the office in Gilbert, and Alysha gathered her children and made the twenty-minute drive to her husband’s work. When she reached there, the scene was already roped off with yellow tape, and she was told she was not authorized to go past when she tried to dash underneath it. Alysha questioned where the ambulance was, or if Nick had already been transported to the hospital, desperate to know what was going on. The officers in front of her stayed quiet before a detective walked over to her and told her the bad news- her husband was dead. She recalls crumbling to the ground, in shock.
Gilbert Police instantly started their investigation, questioning neighboring offices and local nearby businesses. No one nearby had heard any gunshots, and neither had Alysha while she was on the FaceTime call. David Sweetman was also queried. He explained what happened that afternoon, saying that he had been knocked out by the assailants from behind, and when he eventually gained consciousness, the suspects were gone. That’s when he heard Alysha’s voice on the phone and found Nicholas’ body. Whether David was checked for a head injury at the hospital or not is unknown.
Police also gathered security footage of the region. They had heard from an observer that they had noticed two men leaving the parking lot in a white pickup truck soon after the murder. The police noted how tight the timeline was: the FaceTime call began at 5:25, Alysha was alerted by Capri at 5:28, and had called the police at 5:30. All of this had happened in under 5 minutes.
In mid-June, police released surveillance video of an Arco gas station a few blocks away from the site of the killing. It had been time-stamped at 5:33 p.m., showing a stocky man entering the gas station, and paying for gas with cash, before pumping it and leaving. He was interpreted as standing around 5’8” with a heavy build, wearing a blue t-shirt and jeans. This man was recognized to be a suspect in the killing of Nicholas Cordova, but I am unsure how they came to this finding. Maybe the witness who had noticed the men leaving the parking lot recognized the man on the video as being the same.
This image is very clear, and someone must identify this man. It just needs to be seen by the right person, and hopefully, they would speak up. It was never officially released what the way of death was, but the police asking about gunshots leaves me to believe a gun was involved. Alysha says that she had just heard what sounded like Nick being beaten, over FaceTime, and mentions that she heard no words exchanged between the murderer and her husband.
The Life Insurance Policy
When Nicholas became co-owner of Gilbert Air in 2018, he applied for a 3 million dollar life insurance policy, naming Alysha as the beneficiary. Nonetheless, without Alysha’s knowledge, in December of that same year, the beneficiary was altered to Gilbert Air. So, in the event of Nick’s casualty, Gilbert Air would receive the 3 million dollar payout and not his wife. Taking out life insurance on a business partner or worker is not uncommon- this allows the business to keep functioning in the event of the death of someone with a significant role. When David went to cash in on this claim, Alysha filed an objection with the court, claiming that the modification of beneficiaries was fraudulent. This case is still pending.
On a possibly not so unrelated note about David Sweetman: In 2013, soon after what was described as a terrible separation from his wife, neurologist Laura Sweetman, she perished from drowning in her bathtub. David Sweetman would receive an insurance payout in her death.
It’s been over two years since the casualty of Nicholas Cordova, and it is unknown what progress has been made on the case. The man in the surveillance video has never been recognized, and it is also unknown how deeply they dug into David Sweetman. Alysha described life after Nicholas as very difficult- how she misses her best friend, and how their kids miss their dad, every day. She said that reality started to set in after six months, when she acknowledged Nicholas hadn’t just gone on vacation and would be back, but how he was gone permanently. She thinks there will be justice for the death of her husband, and that police will find out who took his life, and her happiness, away that summer evening. If you know anything about the case of Nicholas Cordova or recognize the man in the surveillance photo, you can contact Gilbert Police at 480. 503. 6500
What led police to think the man entering the Arco gas station was a suspect in the murder? They claim there are two suspects, do they have any video of the second individual?
Was David Sweetman given a medical check after he sustained what he claimed to be a head injury serious enough to knock him out?
Police claim this was an “isolated incident”- does this mean that Nick was particularly targeted? Why was David left alive?
Does the insurance policy fit into this case? What about the casualty of Laura Sweetman?