• Jefferson County District Attorney Banner
  • District Attorney

    Lakewood Man Guilty of Murder of 26 Year Old Howard Adler

    Following almost six days of trial, a Jefferson County jury deliberated just three hours today before they reached a unanimous verdict finding Nate Vernon Fischer, 26, of Lakewood, guilty of the first degree murder of 26-year old Howard Benjamin Adler in November 2012.

    On November 17, 2012, Wheat Ridge police were called to 4600 Miller Street at 11:30 p.m. They found Howard Adler lying in a pool of blood. He had been ambushed and stabbed 31 times in the back, shoulders, neck and head. Howard Adler died in his driveway. He had just arrived home from work in a Denver restaurant and had parked his car in the driveway when he was viciously attacked by masked man. Mr. Adler was still holding his night’s earnings and car keys in his hand when he was attacked.

    By early the next morning, evidence led investigators to Nate Fischer. After Fischer stabbed Howard Adler to death he purchased bleach to use in attempting to destroy DNA evidence on the clothing he had worn. He then drove to Fort Collins and to the Red Feather Lakes area. He hiked to a remote area where he buried the knife and the bleached clothing that was later recovered and linked Fischer to the murder.

    Nate Fischer testified during his trial. He admitted that he’d killed Howard Adler but claimed that he’d been encouraged or goaded by a woman with whom Howard Adler had a child. Mr. Adler and the woman were involved in a heated custody battle over the 3-year-old boy.

    Fischer described in detail numerous conversations that he claimed to have had with the women in the months prior to the murder, in which they discussed where, when and how to kill Mr. Adler. They mapped out escape routes from Howard Adler’s home at 4600 Miller Street where they were least likely to be detected by police or security cameras. They discussed the pro’s and con’s of using a gun or a knife as well as planning ways to avoid detection by cell phone towers. Several times they parked near Mr. Adler’s home, or places they knew he went frequently, as they plotted the murder and hatched an alibi.

    On the night of November 17, Fischer said he acted alone. He went to Howard Adler’s home and parked where he wouldn’t be detected. He hid behind trees near where Mr. Adler parked and waited for him to come home. Dressed in black, masked, and wearing gloves Fischer waited until Howard Adler parked his car and stepped out. He sneaked up and began stabbing him from behind.

    Nate Fischer’s defense was that he was very naïve, immature and loved the woman who was the mother of Mr. Adler’s child. The defense suggested that Fischer was simply a pawn in an elaborate scheme to end Howard Adler’s life. Prosecutors pointed out that while Nate Fischer was just 25 years old, he had served four years in the Coast Guard and had just recently completed a program in a local gunsmith school.

    “This was a brutal, cold-hearted and calculated murder that ended the life of Mr. Adler, a father, a son, a friend,” said District Attorney Pete Weir. “This case is a perfect example of how teamwork brings justice for victims. Together with the Wheat Ridge Police Department, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, and Larimer County law enforcement, our DA investigators and prosecutors brought closure for the victim’s love ones and for our community”

    Nate Fischer was convicted of First Degree Murder after Deliberation and one count of Tampering with Physical Evidence. They went to immediate sentencing today and the judge sentenced Fischer to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Mr. Adler’s mother, father, other family and friends were in the courtroom when the sentence was delivered.

    Pam Russell
    DA Public Information

    January 30, 2014

    Nate Fischer

    Last Updated: 1-30-2014
  • The filing of a criminal charge is merely a formal accusation that an individual has committed a crime(s).
    A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. See Colo. RPC 3.6.