Judge rules ‘no bond’ for suspects in murder of Steamboat man
Steamboat Pilot & Today
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The three suspects charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a 26-year-old Steamboat Springs man will remain behind bars without bond following an advisement hearing at the Routt County Justice Center on Monday afternoon.
“The court is going to err on the side of caution, so I’m going to set no bond in this case,” said 14th Judicial District Judge Shelley Hill.
Skyla Piccolo-Laabs, 23, Brooke L. Forquer, 21, and William C. Ellifritz, 26, who are being held in the Routt County Jail, participated in the hearing by video conference call. They are accused of murdering Elliot Stahl, whose body was discovered on Forest Service Road 900 south of Yampa on Monday, Oct. 14, by a man who was fishing in the area.
Formal charges have not yet been filed against the three suspects, who were arrested Saturday, Oct. 19, in Craig, where all three live. Assistant District Deputy Attorney Matt Tjosvold asked Judge Hill for seven days from the day of the arrests to formally file the charges, and Judge Hill granted the request due to the severity of the alleged crime, which is a capital offense.
The District Attorney’s Office anticipates filing formal charges this week before the Oct. 28 deadline.
According to a warrantless arrest affidavit filed by the Routt County Sheriff’s Office and obtained from the Routt County Justice Center on Monday, Forquer told an agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation that she, Piccolo-Laabs and Ellifritz were with Stahl at a residence in Craig on the night of Sunday, Oct. 13. She told the agent Stahl wanted a ride to Denver and that Ellifritz told her to offer him a ride for $100.
According to the affidavit, the four stopped at a gas station in Craig before driving to Steamboat Springs. The affidavit states Forquer was driving, Stahl was in the passenger seat, Piccolo-Laabs was sitting behind Stahl, and Ellifritz was sitting behind Forquer. While driving up Rabbit Ears Pass, Forquer said Ellifritz reached over the seat and struck Stahl, the affidavit states.
Piccolo-Laabs told law enforcement officers Ellifritz stabbed Stahl in the neck area and then a “short scuffle” between the two men ensued inside the vehicle, with Ellifritz kicking Stahl, according to the affidavit. After the three determined Stahl was dead, the affidavit states Ellifritz directed Forquer where to drive, and they ended up on a dirt road, where Ellifritz removed Stahl’s body from the vehicle.
In the affidavit, both Piccolo-Laabs and Forquer said Ellifritz made them stab Stahl. The murder weapon was described by Piccolo-Laabs in the affidavit as a black folding knife.
Piccolo-Laabs, Forquer and Ellifritz are due back in court Oct. 29.
According to information presented by Tjosvold during Monday’s hearing, Ellifritz has four felony convictions dating back to 2011, including three for second-degree burglary. Piccolo-Laabs has no prior convictions, and Forquer has one petty offense conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia.
The Routt County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case with assistance from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Craig Police Department, Steamboat Springs Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
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Despite nearly a month of intense investigation by two APD detectives, two investigators with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and help from an FBI agent in Glenwood Springs, the case is progressing slowly.