DA likely won’t oppose record-sealing request | AspenTimes.com

DA likely won’t oppose record-sealing request

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

District Attorney Sherry Caloia said Wednesday that her office likely won't oppose former murder suspect Nancy Styler's request to have the law enforcement records pertaining to her case permanently sealed from public access.

A motion filed with the Pitkin County District Court on Monday by Styler's attorney, Beth Krulewitch, seeks the sealing of "any and all records" affiliated with the 9th Judicial District Attorney's Office case, including information from the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office, the Pitkin County Jail, the Aspen Police Department, the Garfield County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Styler, 63, was accused of first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the homicide of Aspen native Nancy Pfister in February. She was arrested, along with her husband, William Styler, at a Basalt motel on March 3 and formally charged on March 17.

Charges against Nancy Styler were formally dismissed, with prejudice, on June 17 after William Styler confessed to authorities that he acted alone in murdering Pfister with a hammer as she slept inside her West Buttermilk-area home. The "with prejudice" terminology means that Nancy Styler can never again be charged in connection with the Pfister case, according to Krulewitch.

William Styler, 66, currently is serving a 20-year state prison sentence following his plea bargain with Caloia's office. Since shortly after his arraignment and sentencing hearing on June 20, he has been held in the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center, a holding facility where state Department of Corrections inmates are processed.

Krulewitch's motion states that Nancy Styler is in the process of obtaining a divorce and "is trying to put the pieces of her broken life back together."

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Despite the fact that the charges were dismissed, "Ms. Styler has learned when she has applied for automobile insurance, apartment rentals and employment opportunities that any background check still shows she has a pending murder charge."

The information in the background checks, in addition to being "demonstrably false," also presents huge obstacles to her ability "to get back on her feet again," Krulewitch wrote.

A hearing on the matter has been set for Nov. 28. However, District Judge Gail Nichols responded in a hearing notice Wednesday that the proceeding was only ordered "in an abundance of caution."

"Ms. Styler and her attorney do not have to appear unless an objection is filed," the notice says.

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said he would defer any decision about opposing the request to Caloia's office.

"There has been no discussion between my office and the DA about that," he said. "I will respect the decision of the judge and the DA on that, and I'm not going to get involved."

Caloia said her office would only get involved if Nancy Styler's attorney sought to seal information about her that's contained in a separate felony file, such as her husband's. But Krulewitch's motion only addresses Nancy Styler's file.

andre@aspentimes.com