There’s been two different takes on the William Styler case. This past June, Styler received 20 years in prison for the murder of Nancy Pfister. The prosecution believes that, given Styler’s physically debilitating ailment, it will be a life term for the 66-year-old man. Many, though, disagree as to just how debilitating his condition really is.
Styler has a condition known a “sidiopathic sensory-motor peripheral neuropathy,” and the development of the disorder forced him to discontinue practicing as an anesthesiologist. Styler and his wife, Nancy Styler, attempted to begin a new life with a spa business. They moved to Aspen and rented a home from Pfister while she was in Australia.
Their relationship ended in a dispute, and Pfister refused to return their spa equipment until they paid her $14,000 she believed they owed in rent. Styler — if his confession is to be believed — went to her home on Feb. 24, killed her as she slept, and threw her body into a closet.
Pfister’s sister believes that Styler used a wheelchair in order to encourage the prosecution into giving him a better prison environment. An attorney representing Kathy Carpenter, who was a former defendant in the case, said that Styler had been seen, just months before the murder happened, loading boxes into his car without any type of aid.
Styler’s medical condition did, in fact, configure into his plea deal. The district attorney’s office agreed as part of Styler’s guilty plea that he would be placed in a medical facility. Styler’s specific degenerative disorder is largely unknown — his condition has a name but doctors are otherwise unsure of what causes it, or why. He has been reluctant to spend much time in the hospital, knowing that 98,000 patients are killed each year as a result of medical error.
However, many believe that Styler is as ill as he appears. He has been observed crawling across the jail cell floor. The state prison records indicate that Styler is quite frail, at 140 pounds, and a 5-foot-10 height.
As a result of Styler’s condition, many have felt disbelief at the idea that he could have not only killed Pfister, but stuffed her body into a closet by herself. With little other evidence, though, the case has closed against Nancy Styler and Kathy Carpenter, who had found the body.