Veronica Whitney

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May 8, 2003
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Eagle murder case heads for trial

Gerald "Cody" Boyd was shot to death on June 27 at his former girlfriend's ranch in Eagle. Kathleen "Kathy" Denson, the 44-year-old owner of the 77-acre Draggin' A Ranch, as well as Designer Furs in Vail, is accused of the murder.

After several hearing delays and a gag order imposed last summer by Judge Terri Diem, Denson is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 11. Her next appearance in court will be on June 11, however, for a motions hearing, during which crucial evidence and significant details are expected to be introduced by the defense.

A her home in Collinsville, Ill., Mary Jo Boyd said she is getting impatient with the handling of the case.

"The case has been dragging for too long. The trial should have been held a long time ago," she said in a recent telephone interview. "But it seems it's moving now. I just hope the judge doesn't postpone it anymore."

Denson, charged with second-degree murder, is out on a $700,000 bail. She also faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Boyd's ex-wife on behalf of their 12-year-old daughter, Callie.

The case

Denson was arrested on June 27 after Eagle County Sheriff's deputies arrived at her ranch at 14245 U.S. Highway 6 at 1:15 p.m. to find Gerald Boyd lying dead in the living room with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. Eagle County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Mike McWilliams said Denson called 911, saying she'd just shot her ex-boyfriend.

"I believe Kathy shot him," Mary Jo Boyd said. "It was a crime of passion."

The night before the shooting, she said, Denson called her in Collinsville upset and angry because her son was leaving her for another woman.

Boyd said her son and Denson had been living together for four years, but he had moved out a month before he was shot. A week before the shooting, Mary Jo Boyd said, Denson bought Gerald Boyd a wedding ring and asked him to marry her. He said "no," his mother said.

Reached at his office in Denver, Denson's attorney, Scott Robinson, declined to comment for this story. In July, Judge Diem imposed a gag order and sealed files on the case at the request of Robinson and the Eagle County District Attorney's Office. At the time, lawyers from both sides said they wanted to ensure Denson received a fair trial and that potential jurors weren't prejudiced by reading details of the case in the newspaper.

Before the gag order, however, Robinson said self-defense could become a part of the case.

"I anticipate that physical evidence will show that the shot was fired in self-defense," Robinson said last summer.

Investigators of the case earlier said Denson never claimed self-defense when she was arrested.

"Make my day'

The fact that the shooting occurred at Denson's home with a single shot could make the case a "make-my-day" case, under which Colorado law allows homeowners to use reasonable and necessary force to protect themselves or their property from an intruder, Robinson said. If at the June 11 motions hearing, Denson's defense attorney files a motion to dismiss the case based on "make-my-day" statutes - and the judge grants the motion - the trial could be suspended.

The prosecutors, however, could appeal, Robinson added, and eventually a jury would decide on the motion.

Second-degree murder - knowingly causing the death of someone - is a class-II felony with a sentence of eight to 24 years in prison. Denson also was charged with the use of a deadly weapon, which doubles the sentence if Denson is found guilty.

"It's a bad situation. She's a beautiful lady and with a lot going on in her life," Mary Jo Boyd said. "But this is the law. I believe she shot my son and she needs to go to jail."

In the past years, Denson has been a familiar name at the Eagle County Sheriff's Office. A records check revealed 58 contacts between Denson deputies since 1995. In most of those contacts, Denson was the complainant, calling in reports of trespassers on her ranch.

Two years ago, both Denson and Boyd each were given restraining orders. At the time, each party had a restraining order against the other but continued to contact each other by telephone and in person. Complaints were called in on Denson because she allegedly used a gun to threaten rafters who were floating through her property, which straddles the Eagle River.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated May 7, 2003 12:00AM Published May 8, 2003 02:33AM Copyright 2003 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.