A judge sentenced William "Trey" Styler today to 20 years in prison for 2nd degree murder in the case of Aspen native Nancy Pfister. Styler plead guilty, saying it was crime of passion, and that accepted responsibility for Pfister's death.
A public defender representing Mr. Styler said he felt badly for the pain he had caused the Pfister family. Styler's wife, Nancy Styler, was freed from jail earlier this week when prosecutors dropped their murder charges against her. It wasn't clear whether Mr. Styler confessed to the murder to protect any involvement she might have had in the matter.
The plea deal entered for Mr. Styler included a request that he be placed in a medical prison facility. Family members of Nancy Pfister raised concerns that not being in a regular prison would be too "comfortable" for Mr. Styler, but prosecutors clarified that medical facilities aren't much different from regular prisons and are still unpleasant. Prison officials will make the final call on where Styler is placed.
Minutes later, the third defendant in the case was exonerated. The District Attorney's office dropped all charges against Kathy Carpenter, a long time local and banker. During the hearing, counsel Greg Greer spoke passionately about there being evidence that Carpenter was held, without bond and in jail with with false information.
The District Attorney Sherry Caloia issued a statement afterwards, saying: "We do believe that this is a good and just resolution to these cases and hope that Nancy PÍister’s family can find peace in knowing what happened, knowing that Nancy Piister’s killer is in prison, and avoiding potentially years of litigation for which the result is always uncertain."
Then, Greer and co-counsel Kathleen Lord spent more than an hour describing what happened before and after Nancy Pfister died in her West Buttermilk home. Carpenter placed the 911 call reporting Pfister's body, and Greer argued the pivotal moment in the botched investigation, came when the Colorado Bureau of Investigation mistakenly transcribed a key word in that call.
Caloia and Pitkin County Sheriff have said Carpenter remains "under investigation." When asked about that, Greer said "we'll see how long that lasts."
Note: Aspen Public Radio will post a more in-depth story this weekend.