Judge denies Denson murder trial delay
GEORGETOWN A district judge Friday denied a prosecution motion to delay the murder trial of Aspen and Vail furrier Kathleen Denson, saying it would jeopardize her right to a speedy trial.Denson, 44, who owns Affinity and Hillis Furs in Aspen and Designer Furs in Vail, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of her longtime boyfriend, Gerald “Cody” Boyd, 45, on June 27 at her ranch between Eagle and Gypsum.Her attorney, 9News legal analyst Scott Robinson of Denver, argued a delay in Denson’s Aug. 11 trial would infringe on her business obligations, pushing court proceedings into peak season for the fur trade.But Fifth Judicial Assistant District Attorney Philip Smith pleaded for another month to prepare because of the “nearly 100 percent” turnover of prosecutors in his office in recent months. Smith just took over the case this spring.While sympathizing with the “state of disarray” in the DA’s office, District Judge W. Terrence Ruckriegle denied Smith’s bid to continue both a June 11 motions hearing in Eagle and the Aug. 11 trial.Ruckriegle also listened to a laundry list of both defense and prosecution motions in the case that the two sides have not been able to reach agreement on, selecting a handful to be heard at the June 11 hearing and setting another motions hearing for July 8 in Eagle to deal with the rest.Court records remain sealed and a gag order is in place to limit pre-trial publicity and not taint potential jurors, but Friday’s hearing began to shed some light on the details of the case and the strategies of both sides.Robinson is clearly setting up a “Make My Day” law defense, arguing the shooting was justified self-defense, while prosecutors will try to portray Denson as a mentally troubled woman with a drug problem who acted out of jealously over another woman.”The evidence in this case will show that Mr. Boyd was anything but a victim ,” Robinson said during discussion of a motion to limit the use of words that might “dilute the presumption of innocence,” such as “victim,” “homicide,” and even “Make My Day.”The judge allowed “victim” and “homicide,” but he did rule that “Home Intruder Statute,” which allows a homeowner to use deadly force against an intruder inside their home if they feel physically endangered, would be better than “Make My Day.”While the phrase, popularized by a Clint Eastwood movie, has become part of the popular lexicon, Ruckriegle noted “it’s the crassest level of reference of justification for somebody blowing somebody away.”Smith said: “The evidence may support that conclusion.”A gaunt and sometimes-trembling Denson arrived a half hour late for the hearing, entering with a noticeable limp, dressed in a conservative gray suit and white T-shirt.Denson turned her head away, closed her eyes and seemed near tears as the lawyers debated a defense motion to exclude videos seized from her Draggin’ A Ranch after the shooting, one of which apparently shows Boyd and Denson engaged in “sexual activity,” according to Smith.The judge will rule on that motion June 11, as well as defense motions to suppress certain autopsy photos, personal notes and memorandums, evidence of prescription drugs at the ranch and a witness’s perception that Denson suffers from mental illness.Robinson questioned the admissibility of Denson’s alleged mental condition, noting that Boyd and Denson had participated in couple’s counseling, but no counselor ever indicated Denson suffered from any mental illness.On the issue of drugs, he said that blood tests indicated Denson was clean the morning of the shooting, but that Boyd had marijuana, cocaine and a “valium-related” drug in his system. And he added that the alleged other woman, Monique Seebacher, a former employee of Denson’s who is suing her for wrongful termination, will testify that Boyd took two halcion tablets the morning of the shooting.Smith said evidence of Denson’s mental condition and use of prescription drugs go to her state of mind, but that those issues might best be dealt with in a 404B hearing, which relates to prior conduct. The judge disagreed and ordered those two issues to be heard June 11.
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