Editorial: the grieving is no mystery
The killing of Nancy Pfister has gripped the Aspen community, a place where crimes of violence are the rare exception rather than the norm.
This is the kind of publicity that Aspen doesn’t want — what community does? — but we can say confidently that the media feeding frenzy has begun.
Already, major media outlets have reported about the story, and we suspect this is just the beginning. On Wednesday, the New York Post’s Page 6 column reported that Pfister’s death is the “talk of New York society,” citing an unnamed source who said she was once briefly engaged to Michael Douglas.
Meanwhile, co-suspects Nancy and William Styler are due back in court on March 17. That’s when the prosecution is scheduled to file charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against the married couple from the Front Range.
And it’s at this point in the case — that lull until the next court hearing — when the digging really starts into the background of both the suspects and the victim.
In Wednesday’s paper, we reported on the legal struggles William Styler had with a former attorney, who he claims overbilled him to the tune of more than $600,000.
But that’s merely a snapshot into a much bigger story.
As it stands, there are more questions than answers. When was Nancy Pfister killed? Why did the Styler couple not feel compelled to leave the Aspenalt Lodge, where they were staying after the killing? Was the homicide really a product of a rental dispute between the Styler tenants and their landlord Pfister?
Until the case is unsealed, there will be few clues to give us more answers.
Even so, the Pfister case has all of the ingredients for a major story: The victim is from a wealthy, prominent family that helped mold Aspen’s ski industry, while William Styler once was a licensed anesthesiologist who aided his wife in the launching of a successful water-lily business.
But no matter how salacious this case might end up being, we can’t lose sight of the fact that there are grieving relatives and friends of Pfister’s. She was brutally killed and left in a closet at her house. That, more than anything else surrounding this case, cannot be forgotten. We can only hope that justice eventually is served, which would be the first step in helping the community heal.
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“Each day in my new home I am confronted by the chasm that separates the cultural norms of Shimukappu residents and folks in the U.S.,” writes columnist Timbah Bell.