Three people accused of the murder of Aspen native Nancy Pfister appeared in court yesterday: a Front Range couple was formally charged and a long time Aspen resident and friend of Pfister’s was advised of the charges against her. All three are being held without bond.
There were so many defense attorneys for William and Nancy Styler, they couldn’t all fit behind the table normally used in court. Public Defenders Tina Fang and Sarah Steele were joined by private practice attorneys Beth Krulewitch and Garth McCarty. Both are court appointed legal counsel for Nancy Styler, who is is now being held at Eagle County jail.
Access to information was at the heart of the Stylers’ hearing. In contrast to a community searching for clues to understand why authorities think the Stylers committed the crime, the couples’ four attorneys took turns making arguments for Judge Nichols to crack down on leaks about the case… Krulewitch described hearing through the legal grapevine that salacious details on the Pfister case have come up at a Denver cocktail party. The Stylers' attorneys also raised questions about whether Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo was influencing the public in his recent press conferences, with what he said about the couple. Judge Nichols disagreed, saying DiSalvo has not announced anything improper and, further, she isn’t able to keep people from leaking details any more than they already have.
At the same time, legal counsel for the Stylers criticized the prosecutors for not providing them with enough information about the case. They asked for more evidence and other information in the case file… and more time to review those items, in order to fairly represent the Stylers. Judge Nichols approved a tour of the crime scene at Nancy Pfister’s house on Monday, March 17th, for the defense and prosecution. There were so many other issues at yesterday’s hearing they were deferred to another hearing this morning. A preliminary hearing date has not been set and it could be weeks or months from now.
At a separate proceeding yesterday Judge Nichols saw the third person arrested in Pfister’s homicide. Aspen resident and Alpine Bank employee Kathy Carpenter has been described as a friend and de facto property manager of Pfister’s house in West Buttermilk. Carpenter was essentially assigned a court appointed attorney. She was barred from having any contact with three of Pfister’s relatives, and was also ordered to be held without bond.
There had been a press conference planned for after yesterday’s hearings… but after the criticism by the Styler’s defense attorneys, it was canceled. Spokeswoman Blair Weyer read the first line of a press release issued at that time: “Pitkin County Sheriff’s office will no longer be providing interviews or press conferences related to the homicide of Nancy Pfister. This is in an effort to preserve the prosecution of this case.” Court proceedings continue Tuesday, March 18th at the Pitkin County Courthouse.