Decision on Denson evidence soon
A judge will rule next week on whether statements made by Gerald “Cody” Boyd to other people that he was a “hit man” will be accepted as evidence in Kathy Denson’s trial next month.
Kathleen “Kathy” Denson, 44, 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, 45, who died of a shotgun wound on June 27, 2002. Denson is out on $600,000 bail.
On a telephone conference call next Tuesday, Eagle County District Court Judge Richard Hart will rule on hearsay statements that include:
– Statements by Denson taped by police after the shooting in which she told police she believed Boyd “was a hit man, that her 20-year-old son wasn’t safe, that he (Boyd) was well-connected to organized crime and that he claimed a total of 32 kills.”
– Statements by Boyd to other people that he was a hit man who had killed 32 people.
– Statements attributed to Denson when she was handcuffed by police, not taped. Denson allegedly told police, “I had to. … He just kept coming, threatening me.”
Tuesday, Fifth Judicial Assistant District Attorney Philip Smith’s opposed any evidence of Boyd telling people he had killed someone.
But Scott Robinson, the Denver attorney representing Denson, told Judge Hart those statements are important.
“They go in the state of mind of Denson,” Robinson said.
Before the gag order imposed last summer by former Eagle County Judge Terri Diem, Robinson said self-defense could become a part of the case. The fact the shooting occurred at Denson’s home with a single shot could make the case a “make my day statute case,” which under Colorado law allows homeowners to use reasonable and necessary force to protect themselves or their property against an intruder.
At Tuesday’s hearing on evidence to be presented at Denson’s jury trial, Judge Hart declined to accept the request of the prosecution to include evidence of Denson’s prior conduct that could be linked to the shooting.
The judge denied Smith’s request because the prosecutor filed the motion late.
The evidence denied by the judge included an episode a few years ago in which Denson discharged a weapon in the air to scare away rafters that were floating down the Eagle River through her ranch. Evidence also depicted another situation in which Denson threw rocks at rafters.
“These were the furthest things of “similar conduct’ that you can imagine,” Robinson said at the hearing. “It is difficult to see how it could come to be evidence, even if it had been timely filed.”
Denson didn’t attend Tuesday’s hearing because she was undergoing drug treatment in Grand Junction. District Judge W. Terry Ruckriegle in June ordered Denson to successfully complete a treatment program after police found drugs in her ranch.
At the hearing, Judge Hart also ruled homemade videos depicting Denson and Boyd using drugs will not be used at the trial.
“We will not use them unless drug use becomes relevant,” Smith told the judge, who accepted the agreement.
“We also decided not to use videos on sexual activities; they’re are not relevant,” Smith said. “We know what the law is and what will be relevant.”
In June, Judge Terry Ruckriegle made other rulings on evidence, including:
– Accepting 13 of 32 autopsy photographs presented by the prosecution.
– Precluding evidence regarding prescription medicine taken by Denson, as well as her mental health.
Background on the case
– Kathleen “Kathy” Denson was arrested J une 27 after Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at her ranch at 14245 U.S. Highway 6 and found Boyd lying dead in the living room with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest.
– 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.
– 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.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.