Police say Snowmass man shot woman
SNOWMASS – Police say the Snowmass Village couple whose bodies were found Tuesday night died when the man shot his common law wife in the chest and neck and then turned the gun on himself.Snowmass Village Police Chief Art Smythe said officers responding to a neighbor’s report that Lisa Morgan, 44, and Robert Taliaferro, 42, were having a loud argument found them dead in the home’s living room.The weapon was a .357-caliber magnum revolver. Smythe said it didn’t appear Morgan had tried to flee. “We don’t have any sense of that at all,” he said. “There’s nothing conclusive about what exactly she may have been doing when she was shot.”Both had benzodiazepine sedatives – a class of tranquilizers and sleeping pills that includes Valium – and alcohol in their systems when they died, said Dr. Steve Ayers, the Pitkin County coroner. He said Morgan “likely lived for a couple of minutes” after she was shot between 8 and 8:15 p.m.
In 2001, Taliaferro, who worked in the city of Aspen’s maintenance department, was charged with felony menacing with a deadly weapon, domestic violence and misdemeanor assault after fighting with Morgan, court records show. The first charge was dropped after she retracted her statement to police. Taliaferro received deferred sentences on the other charges, which were stricken from his record after he stayed arrest-free for two years.Morgan’s family expressed shock yesterday. The family never knew of any problems between the two, said Morgan’s sister, Leslie Prichard.”We never could have anticipated or predicted this terrible tragedy because Lisa and Robert both seemed so happy together and were very loving toward each other whenever we were around them,” she wrote in an e-mail message. She said Morgan and Taliaferro had been together for about four years.
The oldest of five siblings, Morgan grew up in Lubbock, Texas. She has two grown sons from a previous marriage, one of whom just moved away from Snowmass Village.Morgan had worked as an administrative assistant in The Snowmass Club’s engineering department for about four years. She recently took a job in the engineering administrative department at a condominium complex. “It is a shock when something like this happens in this community,” said Peg McGavock, executive director of Response – Help for Battered Women, a local advocacy group. “[But] suicide-homicide is quite common. You’ll hear about it happening elsewhere where someone will [kill] his wife and his children and then kill himself.”Both Morgan and Taliaferro had sedatives and alcohol in their systems when they died. Drinking and drugs are often contributing factors in domestic-violence cases, McGavock said.
“People lose their restraint and don’t realize what they’re doing,” she said.But the deadliest situation often arises when a spouse tries to leave an abusive relationship.”Once the perpetrator gets that message that [their spouse is] leaving, that’s when they might do something drastic,” McGavock said. “Domestic violence is about power and control. To kill someone is the ultimate control.Vail, Colorado