Veronica Whitney

Love triangle emerges in murder trial

An ongoing love triangle, drugs, guns and money became again part of key testimony Monday at the murder trial against local rancher Kathleen "Kathy" Denson.

For more than seven hours, Monica Seebacher - also known as "Monique" - testified at the Eagle County Justice Center about her relationship with Denson and Gerald "Cody" Boyd. Seebacher, a store manager for one of Denson's fur stores in Vail, was Boyd's girlfriend when Boyd, 45, died of a black powder-pistol shotgun wound on June 27, 2002, at Denson's ranch.

Denson, 46, owner of the 77-acre Draggin' A Ranch between Eagle and Gypsum, as well as Designer Furs in Vail, is charged with the second-degree murder of Boyd, her former boyfriend.

Boyd was living with Seebacher but still seeing Denson at the time he was shot, according to court records.

Seebacher, 42, of Vail said Boyd had trouble breaking up a five-year-long relationship with Denson.

"He (Boyd) had told me he was going to end the relationship with Kathy," Seebacher told prosecutor Phil Smith.

The prosecution says Denson shot Boyd because of jealousy and because he was going to leave her.

The defense maintains Denson shot him in self-defense.

"I was in love with him'

In her testimony, Seebacher said she loved Boyd, who he had turned Denson down when the rancher asked him to marry her in May - a month before his shooting. She also said Boyd was sleeping with both women at the time.

"He had told me he wasn't happy with Kathy and their drug use," Seebacher said in her testimony. "Drug consumption had started to wear him down."

Seebacher admitted to doing cocaine with Denson and Boyd about 10 times. The three, she said, ingested cocaine together.

"I saw him (Boyd) doing the three things (cocaine, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana) at the same time," Seebacher said. "But I never saw him getting mean while doing drugs."

According to testimony, tension was high between Denson and Boyd in May 2002, when they went on a trip to Cancun, Mexico, accompanied by Seebacher.

"He told Kathy he didn't want to go unless I went, too," Seebacher said.

According to testimony, during the trip Boyd got in an argument with Denson. Seebacher left the room. When she saw them again, Denson had a red mark on her face.

"But both Kathy and Cody said he hadn't done it," Seebacher said. "She had hit her forehead on the back of his head. Cody said Kathy was trying to provoke him to hit her."

The next day, Denson left Cancun for Colorado, leaving Seebacher a letter that said: "My dearest Monique, Cody wouldn't hurt me or anyone else. Sorry to have brought you into my (expletive) life."

A hit man?

While they were in Cancun, Seebacher said, Boyd made comments in reference to being a "hit man" in his past life.

"He claimed to have killed 32 people," Seebacher said. "I didn't believe him. He was high and drank when he said it."

Once back in Colorado, Seebacher said, Boyd called his mother, Mary Jo Boyd, and told her the same thing. Again, Seebacher said, Boyd had been drunk.

"I asked him who he had killed; he never gave me names," Seebacher said.

In May 2002, Denson gave Boyd $100,000, according to court records. Soon afterward, Boyd opened accounts with Mesa National Bank. He then bought a $26,000 Harley Davidson motorcycle and a $15,000 Corvette, the title of which Seebacher admitted to have put her name after Boyd was killed.

Shortly after the shooting, when Denson's accountant called Seebacher to tell her somebody had been shot at the ranch, Seebacher "had a feeling it was Cody," she said.

When Smith asked Seebacher what she did right after learning of the shooting, Seebacher said: "I went to the bank in Eagle and asked if I was on the (Boyd's) money market account."

After that, Seebacher said she went to see Denson at the Eagle County Detention Facility.

"The first thing she told me was, "Monique, I shot Cody. I had to. It was in self-defense,'" Seebacher said.

Taking notes

Denson appeared in court again Monday perfectly groomed wearing a beige pantsuit, a silk shirt and high heels. Callie Boyd, Boyd's 12-year-old daughter, sat in the courtroom for part of Seebacher's testimony taking notes.

In addition to Boyd's family members and some members of the public, Denson's two civil attorneys also attended the trial. Denson faces a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Boyd's former wife, Debra Griffith, on behalf of his daughter. Griffith is asking for about $366,000, the maximum amount allowable under Colorado's wrongful-death statute.

Another other civil lawsuit was filed by Seebacher for termination of her job by Denson.

The case

- Kathy Denson was arrested on June 27, 2002, after Eagle County Sheriff's deputies arrived at her ranch at 14245 U.S. Highway 6 and found her former boyfriend lying dead in the living room with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest.

- Denson, who is charged with the second-degree murder of Gerald Boyd, is out on $600,000 bail.

- 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 has been charged with the use of a deadly weapon, which doubles the sentence if she is found guilty.

- Police said Denson called 911, saying she'd just shot her ex-boyfriend.

- Denson also faces a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Debra Griffith on behalf of Boyd's 12-year-old daughter, Callie.


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The VailDaily Updated Aug 18, 2003 12:00AM Published Aug 19, 2003 12:03AM Copyright 2003 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.