A husband and wife are facing murder charges in the slaying of a philanthropist in the ski resort town of Aspen, Colo., where serious crime is rare.
Nancy Pfister, 57, was found dead in her home last Wednesday. It had been more than a decade since the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office investigated a murder case, possibly one of the reasons authorities initially assumed Pfister’s death was a suicide, according to her only child.
“That just didn’t make sense," Juliana Pfister said. "When I talked with her she was so happy."
After further investigation, two renters, William Styler III, 65, and Nancy Styler 62, were charged Monday with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, officials said.
They are scheduled to appear in court this afternoon when a judge will advise them of the charges and decide whether to grant them bail. They have not yet entered a plea.
Pfister had been renting her home to the Stylers while on an extended trip in Australia, officials said. She returned home days before her body was found, writing on her Facebook wall in January, “I’d like to stay in Australia but the people that were supposedly taking care of my house are not doing what they said they would do and they’re not paying rent and they haven’t paid utilities.”
Officials haven’t released many details about Pfister’s death, and the killing remains under investigation. Autopsy results are expected in the coming weeks.
Juliana Pfister is devastated by her mother’s death.
“I have no idea how someone could do something like that. And especially to her,” Juliana Pfister said. “And I think that my mom could never hurt anything or anyone, and that is one thing that everyone that knew her knew.”
Andrew Travers, a staff writer at the Aspen Daily News, said the death has shaken the resort town.
“This has been a shock for the Aspen community because murder and really any violent crime is something that we simply don’t have here,” Travers said of the allegations.
The Pfisters are a prominent family in Aspen where Nancy Pfisters’ father was a developer of one of the town's major ski areas.