Murder suspects won’t reappear in court until 2020
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The three suspects charged with the murder of 26-year-old Steamboat Springs man Elliott Stahl made their first court appearance Monday, the last time they’ll do so before January 2020.
Craig residents William Clive Ellifritz, 26, Brooke L. Forquer, 21, and Skyla Marie Piccolo-Labbs, 23, each face one count of murder in the first degree, a Class 1 felony, along with one count of aggravated robbery, a Class 3 felony, and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, a Class 5 felony. They also have been charged with one count of abuse of a corpse, a misdemeanor.
Routt County District Attorney Matt Karzen officially filed all of the charges on Friday.
The suspects, all being held without bond in the Routt Count Jail, appeared via video conference Monday before District Court Chief Judge Michael O’Hara. He advised the three suspects of the charges against them and the maximum penalties, according to court officials.
In Colorado, the maximum penalty for being found guilty of murder in the first degree is the death penalty. The minimum penalty is life in prison without parole.
Ellifritz, Forquer and Piccolo-Labbs were arrested Oct. 19 on suspicion of stabbing and killing Stahl. They also have been accused of stealing money, a backpack and prescription medications from him.
The alleged stabbing occurred Oct. 13 on U.S. Highway 40, somewhere between Mount Werner Road and Rabbit Ears Pass, according to an arrest affidavit filed by the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.
As the affidavit describes, Forquer was driving, Stahl was in the passenger seat, Ellifritz was sitting behind Forquer and Piccolo-Laabs was sitting behind Stahl. In an interrogation with an agent from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Piccolo-Laabs said a fight broke out between Ellifritz and Stahl inside the car, according to the affidavit. Ellifritz then stabbed Stahl in the neck.
Piccolo-Laabs described the murder weapon as a black folding knife, according to the affidavit.
In separate interviews with the agent, Forquer and Piccolo-Laabs said Ellifritz made them stab Stahl. Piccolo-Labbs told the agent she believed Ellifritz did this “to make them partially responsible,” according to the affidavit.
On Oct. 14, a fisherman discovered Stahl’s body on Forest Service Road 900 south of Yampa. Upon arrival, law enforcement noticed what appeared to be drag marks on the two-track road, suspecting the body had been placed there, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit also included observations from Detective TJ Sisto of the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, who attend Stahl’s autopsy. The detective indicated Stahl’s body had a stab wound to the neck and to the upper chest.
Forensic pathologists have not released an autopsy report to conclude Stahl’s official cause of death, pending results from a toxicology test. In previous interviews, Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins would not disclose a motive for the alleged murder.
The suspects’ next court appearance, a preliminary hearing, is scheduled for Jan. 6 and 7, 2020. Until then, they will be held without bond in the Routt County Jail.
Ellifritz has four felony convictions dating back to 2011, including three for second-degree burglary, according to information presented by the lead prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Deputy Attorney Matt Tjosvold, during an advisement hearing Oct. 21. Piccolo-Laabs has no prior convictions, and Forquer has one petty offense conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia.