You can't make this stuff up. Aspen has some of the weirdest, most baffling true crime in the country. Perhaps its the small town atmosphere with the big city issues that magnifies these cases...but they do get blown up.
A few recent stories come to mind. On New Year's Eve in 2009, The Aspen core was shut down under a "credible" bomb threat. Long time local, James Blanning placed 3 home made bombs in local banks around the core of Aspen. The incident was considered economic terrorism. Blanning shot himself to death that night up on Independence Pass. See our story SEX BOMB. Last year Aspen's grey-beard cocaine ring got busted by the feds. Wayne Reid, Aspen's 65 year old cocaine dealer who was buds with the Sherrif is now doing 20 years in the big house.
Charlie Sheen's domestic abuse trial was good for a few laughs. Brooke Mueller his ex-wife who accused him of threatening her with a Swiss Army knife was subsequently busted for coke at Escobar using the cliche "do you know who I am?" defense. Recently a murder-for-hire case from 1996 was finally solved. An "ex-Aspen socialite" hired her boyfriend to plant a car bomb in her ex-husband's car to collect $2 million in insurance money. Pamela Phillips, 56 was convicted of first degree murder. She awaits sentencing and will probably never see the light of day again. We can't forget that in 1977 serial killer Ted Bundy jumped out of a 2nd story window of the Pitkin county Courthouse in Aspen to escape custody. He vanished into the woods and was as a fugitive for 6 days.
Lately we have had some headline grabbing crimes in Aspen. Everybody reads the Police Blotter in Aspen.
Local bartender Peter Nardi is on trial for sexual assault and faces life in prison. I actually attended the trial for a few hours and I will break it down for you as only AspenSpin can. It's basically the old he said / she said situation. Both Nardi and the accuser have admitted to having "aggressive sex" and plenty of it. They both admit to heavy drinking. After an 8 month booty filled relationship Nardi is accused of false imprisonment and "hours of torture" in a rented condo. The Texas lady says Nardi dragged her by the hair, held her down, beat her about the head and face while suffocating her with a pillow. He's also accused of holding her eyes open and spitting into them as well as stuffing his boxer shorts into her mouth. Nardi also allegedly made her lay down on a dog bed and called her his "dog bitch". All this action allegedly took place over a 6 to 8 hour period after a night of drinking. SHE SAID he pinned her down with his body, holding her captive and then fell asleep. She was unable to escape. I did see Mr. Nardi's testimony in person...he denies the whole thing, and HE SAID... she was the aggressor. So who knows??? The accuser sat in the audience the entire time scanning her cell phone, despite the no cell phone rule in the court room. The lawyers are introducing all kinds of minutia into the trial...I'm not sure if all the text messages, phone records and cancelled checks and the supposed state-of-mind are relevant...but it's a little confusing. No one knows what really happened., and my guess is no one will. The lady says she was ending the relationship on her terms...by having sex one more time. The man says she was upset because he was breaking up with her and she got physically aggressive with him. My guess, they're both lying. But he said / she said is the oldest story on Earth and it's been happening since the Garden of Eden.
I do know this. No one deserves to be tortured, threatened, beaten or sexually assaulted. If that's true...Nardi, who has a criminal past should go away for a long, long time.
BREAKING NEWS: NARDI FOUND GUILTY on all 5 counts.
The Murder of Nancy Pfister is fascinating a story too. The evidence has been sealed from the media...which is actually sort of nice. But, the result being speculation around Aspen runs rampant. "Philanthropist & socialite" and long time Aspen Local, Ms. Pfister was killed at age 57, by blunt force trauma to the right forehead and temple. 3 or four whacks is estimated. She was found a couple days later in a back closet of her own home. The autopsy results were not sealed. Three people were arrested on first degree murder charge. A former doctor and his wife William Styler III, 65 and his wife Nancy Styler, 62 were Pfister's transient tenants who were not paying their rent on her home near Buttermilk. Also charged is Katherine Carpenter, 56, Pfister's friend and house manager and a long time employee of Alpine Bank. See People mag's story; click PFISTER