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Pfister Murder Charges: No Date Yet for Preliminary, Bond Hearings

It’s still not clear when to expect the first significant court hearings in the alleged murder of Aspen native Nancy Pfister. Attorneys, the prosecution, and a district Judge met yesterday, Wednesday April 2nd, to put those hearings on the calendar… but now that’s been pushed back to Wednesday, April 23rd.

 “The defense attorneys requested more time to review the voluminous discovery they have received.”

Sherry Caloia is District Attorney, and her office is prosecuting three people charged with the murder of Aspen native Nancy Pfister. The first is Kathy Carpenter, a long time Aspen resident and bank teller. Also charged are William and Nancy Styler, previously of the Front Range. Caloia described what kinds of evidence the defense is now sorting through.

“It includes all of the digital documents, and then a chance to view the physical evidence.”

And that includes certain items already mentioned in hearings, like a trash bag with a boarding pass in it. Iris Eytan is a criminal defense attorney based in Denver...and briefly represented Aurora theater shooting suspect James Holmes.

“The defense strategy is going to be one where they wanna make sure they’re

doing their most effect possible at defending their clients who are facing the rest of life in prison without the possibility of parole.”

And that means it’s very important to be as prepared as possible for the next two events… the preliminary hearing and the bond hearing. Tom Hammond is also a seasoned defense attorney practicing in Denver.

“At the preliminary hearing the prosecution will put on enough evidence to show the judge that they can try a case. Enough evidence to get the judge to agree that there’s probable cause. Probable cause means that there was a crime committed, and better than not the people who are accused are the people who committed the crime.”

And there’s actually a higher bar for the prosecution to meet, because felony murder charges are so serious. Again, Tom Hammond.

“The preliminary hearing will also have a component of a proof evident, presumption great hearing. And that means that there is proof evident that the crime charged  was committed. And there is a presumption great that there could be a conviction of that in that case.”

Meaning, the prosecutor must effectively show that the three defendants indeed committed murder against Nancy Pfister.  A status hearing is set for Wednesday, April 23rd, to schedule those hearings.

In the meantime, all three defendants are being held in separate jails. Both Eytan and Hammond say it’s not unusual to have co-defendants in separate facilities. Again, Iris Eytan.

“It makes sense that they’re being held in different jails. And in looking at the way this case is charged. You want to minimize the amount of collusion that occur. Just by means of lawyers, by means of experts that might be visiting the suspects. So it just keeps it as clean as possible.”

As for the cost of housing the three defendants, William Styler is being held in the Pitkin County Jail for about $250 a day, and Nancy Styler is being held in Eagle County jail for about $95 a day. Garfield County Sheriff’s office says Kathy Carpenter is a maximum risk inmate in their jail, which is why she wears a red uniform during court proceedings. But, it’s not clear how much it costs Garfield to keep her in custody.

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