Guilty plea in death of Breckenridge man worth 28 years
BRECKENRIDGE – Brandon Robbins plans to offer a plea agreement this morning that could net him up to 28 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty for his part in the beating death of a Breckenridge man Nov. 1, 2002.Robbins was one of three who were charged with second-degree murder after a bar altercation late that Halloween night spilled out onto the sidewalks in Breckenridge. Cody Wieland, 36, died of massive head injuries nine days after the incidentBrian Stockdale, who was 20 at the time, was found guilty of manslaughter and first-degree assault and is serving 28 years in prison. Michael “Scott” Dietert, 22, was purportedly the least aggressive in the assault, and faces manslaughter charges. He has entered seven plea agreements that would have helped him avoid a prison sentence in exchange for testimony against his friends, but all have been denied.If the judge grants Robbins’ plea, a jury trial slated to begin today will be canceled.Under the terms of the agreement, Robbins will plead guilty to manslaughter and second-degree assault – the same charges a jury found Stockdale guilty of last fall. Robbins’ original charges were second-degree murder and first-degree assault. Second-degree murder is punishable by up to 48 years in prison; first-degree assault is punishable by up to 32 years in prison.District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said defense attorney Harvey Steinberg approached him late last Friday to ask if such a deal might be agreeable for him and the victims.Hurlbert said he’s amenable to the agreement because it is the same sentence Stockdale received, the drawn-out case is taking a toll on the victims, and it offers all involved the chance to get it over with.Wieland’s mother, Jocelan Martell, and Wieland’s widow, Katie, are amenable to the proposed agreement, Hurlbert said.”This treats his … death with some dignity,” Jocelan Martell said. “It recognizes that my son is dead.”But it doesn’t provide closure, Martell added.”It’s a weighty sentence for a young man,” she said. “Life might look a little easier for me (today), but it might look a little harder for Mr. Robbins.” If the judge agrees to the plea, a sentencing date will be set. At sentencing, the judge will hear from the probation officer involved in Robbins’ case, the district attorney’s office, prosecuting and defense witnesses and the victims.Hurlbert said he didn’t know the reasons Robbins proposed the plea agreement. Steinberg was in court Monday and could not be reached for comment.”People do it for a lot of reasons,” he said. “They do it because they don’t want a long, protracted case, they want to take responsibility for what they did or they think they might get convicted for something more. I feel he deserves the 28 years, and I will be asking for such. If things go according to plan I’ll feel pretty good; I’ll feel justice will have been served.”Dietert has a motions hearing Aug. 1 – three days before what would have been Cody Wieland’s 38th birthday, Martell said. Trial is slated for the fall – about the same time the man was murdered.