William Ellifritz pleads guilty to second-degree murder, receives 36-year sentence
Ellifritz had previously pleaded not guilty in July 2020 and was set to stand trial March 8, 2021
After pleading not guilty to murder charges in July 2020, William Clive Ellifritz pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon in Routt County District Court to second-degree murder for the killing of Elliot Hannibal Stahl on Oct. 13, 2019.
With his guilty plea, Ellifritz was sentenced Tuesday to 36 years in prison by Honorable Michael A. O’Hara. Ellifritz was previously scheduled to stand trial March 8, 2021.
“Elliot Stahl’s life was cut short in this senseless killing, and now William Ellifritz will spend a significant portion of his life behind bars,” said Matt Karzen, District Attorney for the 14th Judicial District. “ No one wins. The root cause of this behavior was methamphetamine addiction. The rise in addiction and drug-related violence in the northwest Colorado is a serious problem that deserves our focused attention as a community.
“That this particular case would be solved and brought to justice was not a foregone conclusion, and I want to extend great thanks to the dedicated work of the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, Steamboat Springs Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Craig Police Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the lead prosecutor Assistant District Attorney Matthew J.W. Tjosvold,” Karzen added.
Brooke L. Forquer, 21, and Skyla Marie Piccolo-Laabs, 23, both of Craig, previously pleaded guilty in March to reckless manslaughter, accessory to a crime and abuse of a corpse. The two also were originally charged with robbery, though those charges were later dismissed.
Piccolo-Laabs and Forquer were sentenced in October by Judge Shelley Hill to 12 months in county jail and 16 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections. The 12 months were related to the charge of abusing a corpse, which is a Class 2 misdemeanor, and the 16-year prison sentence was for the count of accessory to a crime and manslaughter, both a Class 4 felony.
According to statements made to law enforcement in 2019, Forquer and Piccolo-Laabs said the murder occurred after Ellifritz suddenly got into an altercation with Stahl while the four were driving just outside Steamboat Springs on Oct. 13. Prosecutors argued the three suspects had plans to deceive Stahl and trick him into giving them $100 for a ride to Denver, which they never planned to provide.
Ellifritz allegedly stabbed Stahl in the neck and then forced the two women to also stab Stahl with the same knife, according to statements from Forquer and Piccolo-Laabs.
A fisherman found Stahl’s body Oct. 14 along a two-track road just off Forest Service Road 907 and Routt County Road 7 near the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. The three suspects were arrested for Stahl’s murder five days later.
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