D.A. preparing for second Breck murder trial
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert says he has plenty of time to reformulate a plan to prosecute the second of three men accused in a Breckenridge homicide – if any reformulating is necessary at all.
The attorney defending Brandon Robbins requested and was granted a continuance, moving the murder trial from this month to June 8.
In his motion filed with District Court Judge David Lass, attorney Harvey Steinberg said that another lawyer helping him with the case had left the law firm, and the lawyer’s replacement had a conflict with the original trial date.
Robbins, 22, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 36-year-old Cody Wieland. Last month, a jury convicted Brian Stockdale, 21, of first-degree assault and manslaughter in Wieland’s death.
Prosecutors hope to prove that Robbins participated in a fight alongside Stockdale, attacking Wieland in the early morning hours of Nov. 1, 2002, on Breckenridge’s Main Street following an altercation in a late-night eatery. The fight left Wieland unconscious; his family removed him from life support nine days later.
Hurlbert had hoped to convict Stockdale of second-degree murder, but following the jury’s decision, said he was satisfied.
Hurlbert says Stockdale’s sentencing may influence him to take a different approach with Robbins. “We’ll wait until after his sentencing to see if we need to do anything differently,” Hurlbert said.
Stockdale is scheduled to appear for sentencing March 8. He faces eight to 32 years in prison on the assault charge and two to eight years on the manslaughter charge. He could get 16 years on the manslaughter charge if the judge decides there were aggravating circumstances.
The third suspect in the case, Michael Scott Dietert, is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in March after numerous failed attempts by attorneys to reach a plea deal.
Hurlbert and Dietert’s attorney, Daniel Recht, presented a half-dozen different agreements to two different judges. Recht hoped to keep his 22-year-old client from serving time in prison. Hurlbert had hoped to secure Dietert’s testimony against the other two suspects at their trial.
The judges refused to accept the agreements, saying that the agreements restricted their ability to sentence Dietert to significant jail time should evidence at trial show he was culpable in the death.
Hurlbert says he still might offer Dietert a plea deal.