Hearing set in wrongful death suit | VailDaily.com

Hearing set in wrongful death suit

Veronica Whitney

Eight months after Kathleen Denson was acquitted of murdering her former boyfriend Gerald “Cody” Boyd, two of the lawsuits against her have been dropped. The third one is still pending.

Denson, 46, owner of the 77-acre Draggin’ A Ranch between Eagle and Gypsum as well as Designer Furs in Vail, has a pretrial hearing scheduled April 6 in Denver Federal Court.

Boyd’s former wife, Debra Griffith, filed the lawsuit in the name of his 13-year-old daughter, Callie. Griffith is asking for $366,000, the maximum amount allowable under Colorado’s wrongful death statute. In August, Denson was acquitted by a 11-person jury of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

“The case has not been dropped at all,” said Elizabeth DelCogliano, a friend of the family. “This case has nothing to do with (Monica Seebacher’s lawsuits) who was fired from her job.”

In January Seebacher, a former employee of Denson, who was a witness in the criminal trial, withdrew a claim for “wrongful termination” during mediation in Denver. On Oct. 16, Seebacher asked the Eagle County District Court to dismiss one of her claims for relief for “outrageous conduct.” Seebacher, of Edwards, had filed the suits in January 2003. In her claims, she demanded about $200,000.

“This is a wrongful death lawsuit,” DelCogliano said. “If somebody was killed in your family, wouldn’t you file a wrongful death suit?”

During her 10-day criminal trial last summer, Denson admitted shooting Boyd with a .44 black-powder pistol at her ranch June 27, 2002. Scott Robinson, Denson’s attorney, said in closing arguments that state law allows the use of force in self-defense.

“This will be a standard conference,” said Frank Zlogar, Denson’s attorney of Denver, about the April hearing.

He didn’t discount that the case could be resolved before getting to a trial.

“Denson has a strong case in the wrongful death suit because of the fact that Boyd died committing a crime,” Zlogar said. “His family has no right to collect any compensations.”

DelCogliano said that’s not what happened in the O.J. Simpson trial. Simpson was acquitted of murdering his wife and lover but lost the civil lawsuit brought by his parents-in-law in the infamous California case.

“We don’t have anything else to say at this time,” DelCogliano said. “What matters is what information might come up in the trial.”

For nine days in August, a jury listened to a parade of witnesses who portrayed a 5-year-long relationship between Denson and Boyd that included an ongoing love triangle with Seebacher, drugs, guns and money.

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

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