Man shot wife, authorities say
Police say the Snowmass Village couple whose bodies were found Tuesday night died when the man shot his common law wife in the chest and neck and then turned the gun on himself.Snowmass Village Police Chief Art Smythe said officers responding to a neighbor’s report that Lisa Morgan, 44, and Robert Taliaferro, 42, were having a loud argument found them dead in the home’s living room.The weapon was a .357-caliber Magnum revolver. Smythe said it didn’t appear Morgan had tried to flee.”We don’t have any sense of that at all,” he said. “There’s nothing conclusive about what exactly she may have been doing when she was shot.”Both had benzodiazepine sedatives, a class of tranquilizers and sleeping pills that includes Valium, and alcohol in their systems when they died, said Dr. Steve Ayers, the Pitkin County coroner.
He said Morgan “likely lived for a couple of minutes” after she was shot between 8 and 8:15 p.m.Firearms do not have to be registered with police in Colorado, Smythe said. A background search is performed on gun buyers, however, and their records must be free of felonies or domestic abuse convictions.In 2001, Taliaferro, who worked in the city of Aspen’s maintenance department, was charged with felony menacing with a deadly weapon, domestic violence and misdemeanor assault after fighting with Morgan, court records show. The first charge was dropped after she retracted her statement to police. Taliaferro received deferred sentences on the other charges, which were stricken from his record after he stayed arrest-free for two years.If his record was wiped clean, there would have been nothing to prevent him from buying the gun, Smythe said.’Lisa loved everyone’Morgan’s family expressed shock yesterday. The family never knew of any problems between the two, said Morgan’s sister, Leslie Prichard.
“We never could have anticipated or predicted this terrible tragedy because Lisa and Robert both seemed so happy together and were very loving toward each other whenever we were around them,” she wrote in an e-mail message. She said Morgan and Taliaferro had been together for about four years.The oldest of five siblings, Morgan grew up in Lubbock, Texas. She has two grown sons from a previous marriage, one of whom just moved away from Snowmass Village.She “loved Aspen and bragged about it every chance she got,” said Prichard, who lives in Albuquerque, N.M.Morgan had worked as an administrative assistant in The Snowmass Club’s engineering department for about four years. She recently took a job in the engineering administrative department at the Timberline Condominiums. Prichard said her sister “had just received a promotion, which she was very proud of and excited about.””She was really, really wonderful and did wonderful things when she was here,” said a Timberline employee who wished to remain anonymous.
A certified underwater welder and dive master, Morgan had recently purchased a time-share unit in Mexico with Taliaferro.”She was awed by nature’s grandness, especially that of the mountains and the oceans,” Prichard wrote. “She traveled extensively throughout her life and enjoyed seeing new places and new experiences.”Morgan was also “amazingly artistic” and made beautiful jewelry, Prichard said.”Lisa was a free spirit and loved everyone with an open heart and believed everyone loved her in return.”Her family was en route to Snowmass Village yesterday to handle her affairs.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is email@example.com
The Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen Mountain is currently closed. Mechanics are looking into it now and more information will come in the next hour, Jeff Hanle, Aspen Skiing Co. vice president of communications said.