Letter: No justice in Pfister case | AspenTimes.com

Letter: No justice in Pfister case

William Styler’s lenient plea bargain is a grave miscarriage of justice. A mundane landlord and renter business dispute should not be a “provoking act” in the cold-blooded murder of a sleeping person. By William Styler’s admission, as Nancy Pfister slept, he found a hammer, smashed her skull reportedly beyond facial recognition, stuffed her bloodied corpse into trash bags and locked her in a closet. Twenty years (parole eligible) and recommended segregation in the prison hospital system (for a mysterious wheelchair condition that did not exist when he was mailing boxes days prior to his arrest) is wrong. So too is surprising the victim’s family and then in court openly dismissing their wishes.

Why this lousy deal? Assume the district attorney grossly failed to build a case. Yet that is her job, particularly for murder. A trash bag reportedly was found with the murder weapon and William Styler’s DNA near the motel room. Nine blood spots were discovered in the Stylers’ Jaguar. First-degree murder convictions have been obtained in the U.S. on much less.

Was every possible investigative avenue aggressively pursued?

The district attorney, elected merely two years ago, ironically after spearheading a recall, has no prosecutorial experience and by her admission was naive enough to not notice her law-firm accounts being used for embezzlement by one of her employees.

The sheriff is a community-college grad who stumbled into law enforcement from skiing and has no peace-officer experience outside Aspen. He, like his predecessor, is snubbed by federal and regional authorities while Roaring Fork Valley residents overdose on heroin. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office foolhardily disdains undercover operations, denying their officers valuable experience and tools.

Did this cast have the best experience, judgment and expertise for a complex murder investigation? While the Sheriff’s Office seems at least to have farmed out perhaps forensics and some investigative steps to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, ultimate responsibility remains with the district attorney and the sheriff.

Why were charges against Nancy Styler dismissed with prejudice unless a condition of William Styler’s half-hearted confession?

Were the death scene and the motel thoroughly processed (crime-lab DNA backlogs generally run months)? Given the gore, what blood evidence was discovered on clothes, etc., either under blacklight optically or using reactive chemicals? Why the rush to arrests? Were the Stylers under electronic monitoring? Were undercover officers placed next door at the hotel? Were cellphones tapped and cellphone-tower records obtained for location-triangulation histories? Why not interview the Stylers and then release them and listen to them? Afterward, were jailhouse communications encouraged and monitored or informants or undercover officers used?

Or did the district attorney take the easy way out? Why does it matter if William Styler could hypothetically die in a jail hospital bed as the prosecution may hope? He afforded Pfister no such quarter when stamping out her life with a hammer.

Why was the district attorney so apparently afraid of taking William Styler’s case to trial?

Justice demands answers to these questions.

Ed Batts


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