Nancy Pfister: Charges dropped against Nancy Styler in Aspen socialite's murder

A few months back, we told you about the murder of Aspen socialite Nancy Pfister and the shocking arrests of William and Nancy Styler, an ex-doctor and his wife in their sixties who were renting Pfister's home.

Now, all charges have been dropped against Nancy Styler -- but thus far, prosecutors aren't saying why.

As we've reported, Pfister's parents co-founded the Buttermilk ski area, and she's long been a part of the Aspen social scene. Indeed, the U.K. Daily Mail reports that she was briefly engaged to marry the actor Michael Douglas.

In recent years, Pfister has been best known for her philanthropic efforts, and she traveled widely. However, she reportedly had to cut short a trip to Australia earlier this year because of problems with the Stylers. Here's the screen capture of a Facebook post alluding to the situation: The Kathy Carpenter mentioned in the note had been hired by Pfister over the years to rent the home where the Stylers had been staying, according to the Aspen Times.

Carpenter, an employee of Alpine Bank in Aspen, is also the person who found Pfister on February 26 and called authorities; she'd been bludgeoned to death and her body left in a closet. But while all of the investigative attention early on seemed to be directed toward the Stylers, Carpenter was being eyed for complicity, too.

The Times notes that Carpenter's Subaru was seized by law enforcers along with the Stylers' Jaguar -- and a week-plus after authorities cuffed the Stylers, Carpenter was arrested, too.

Arrest affidavits against the Stylers and Carpenter are still sealed at this writing, but it appears the Stylers were in financial difficulties despite William's twenty years as a prominent anesthesiologist; he practiced in Denver between 1981 and 2001. The Times documents a legal struggle with an attorney that ended with William ordered to pay $610,000 -- a burden that apparently had him on the brink of suicide last year.

Of course, Aspen is hardly a place that's easily accessible to those who are financially destitute -- and Pfister's home, where the Stylers moved last November, is said to have rented for $4,000 a month.

In addition, CBS4 reports that Pfister and the Stylers may have planned to go into business together in Aspen before a falling out.

Search warrants made public last week seemed to spell more bad news for the Stylers; the Aspen Daily News reports that investigators recovered what they believe to be the murder weapon from near a hotel room where the Stylers were staying and blood was found in their car.

But yesterday brought a surprising reversal.

Continue for more about the latest developments in the Nancy Pfister case, including additional photos and two videos. All charges were dropped against Nancy Styler. And when asked if the same thing could happen in the case of Carpenter, Pitkin County District Attorney Sherry Caloia told the Daily News, "We're looking at that."

Thus far, Caloia isn't detailing the reasons for freeing Nancy Styler. "I'm not saying she's innocent," Caloia stresses in the latest Times piece. "I'm saying we received new evidence, and based on what we already had, it made it quite clear we would not be able to establish any of the charges against her.

"Rather than take it through a preliminary hearing and hope we got better evidence, we decided to just do the motion to dismiss now."

Note that Caloia made no mention of dismissing allegations against William Styler. Do prosecutors now think he acted alone in killing Pfister? More details are expected soon in a case that's already taken more than its share of shifts.

Look below to see booking photos of the Stylers and Carpenter, followed by a CBS4 report from March in which Pfister's daughter, Juliana, shares memories of her mom, and another piece from the station focusing on the Stylers and the high regard in which they were held by people they knew in Denver.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our News archive circa January 6: "Photos: LeeAnn Rimes, Kevin Nealon tweet from scene of fatal Aspen plane crash."

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