Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

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March 15, 2014
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Aspen resident Katherine Carpenter arrested in Nancy Pfister homicide case

A third suspect has been arrested in connection with the death of Aspen native Nancy Pfister.

Katherine M. Carpenter, 56, was booked into the Pitkin County Jail after Pitkin County sheriff’s deputies arrested her at approximately 7 p.m. Friday at her employee-housing unit at the Christiana Lodge, located off Main Street in Aspen.

The arrest comes after Carpenter called authorities, shortly before 6 p.m. on Feb. 26, to report a body found in a closet at Pfister’s home, located off of West Buttermilk Road. On March 2, after authorities kept watch on Carpenter’s unit for nearly three days, deputies from Garfield and Pitkin counties executed a search warrant and removed contents from Carpenter’s Christiana unit, which is owned by Alpine Bank.

Two other suspects remain in custody in the Pitkin County Jail on the same charges that Carpenter faces. William Francis Styler III, 65, and his wife, Nancy Christine Styler, 62, were arrested at the Aspenalt Lodge in Basalt on March 3.

William Styler at one time was a well-regarded anesthesiologist in the Denver area; Nancy Styler founded Victoria Conservancy, which provided water lilies for gardens around the world.

Since late November, the couple had been renting Pfister’s West Buttermilk home. Carpenter handled numerous affairs for the house.

In a post on her Facebook page dated Feb. 6, Pfister, who was in Australia as the time, said that she was seeking a tenant for her home and that “Kathy Carpenter from Alpine Bank will show anyone interested the ropes, watering greenhouse, Gabe’s stuff, etc. Very easy to contact me via email, thanks in advance!!!”

Three days earlier, on Feb. 3, Pfister said on her Facebook page that her West Buttermilk home would be available for rent “around” Feb. 22. Pfister said her current tenants — the Styler couple — are “not paying rent and they haven’t paid utilities.”

Carpenter had close ties to Pfister

In its November newsletter, Alpine Bank recognized Carpenter for her 20th anniversary at the workplace. She most recently had been a teller at the branches at both the Aspen Business Center and East Hopkins Avenue in downtown Aspen. Carpenter had not been working at the bank ever since she reported Pfister’s death to authorities.

Two Alpine Bank customers, who requested that their names not be used for this story, told The Aspen Times that Carpenter had a friendly demeanor.

“I would have bet the farm that she didn’t do it,” one of the customers said.

Carpenter also helped take care of Pfister’s 8-month-old Labradoodle, Gabe, and was occasionally seen taking the dog to the Aspen Animal Hospital. Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, a friend of Pfister’s, has been housing Gabe temporarily, he told the Aspen Times on Monday.

Public records show that Carpenter kept a post-office box in Woody Creek and had lived in various towns throughout Colorado — Aspen, Aurora, Glenwood Springs and Rifle. She also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1999, according to federal court records.

Authorities mum on case

Authorities have released few details about the case or the investigation, including when they believe Pfister was killed or the manner in which she died. Pfister’s autopsy results have not been released, and the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has sealed the case.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office emphasized its position of silence in a statement issued at 2:32 p.m. Saturday: “This case remains active and under investigation and investigators are still developing leads and interviewing witnesses. As previously stated, preserving the integrity of this case for successful prosecution is paramount to this office. Therefore, there will be no further information released regarding this arrest.”

Meanwhile, prosecutor Andrea Bryan is expected to file formal charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against both Stylers in Pitkin County District Court on Monday. Carpenter is scheduled to make her first court appearance at 3 p.m. Monday, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“All three inmates are being separated within the jail facility,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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