Judge tosses rock-throwing incidents in Denson case | VailDaily.com

Judge tosses rock-throwing incidents in Denson case

Staff Reports

EAGLE — An Eagle County district judge ruled that the prosecution missed a court deadline to explain why allegations that murder suspect Kathleen “Kathy” Denson fired shots and threw rocks at rafters near her ranch would be relevant at her trial.Assistant District Attorney Phil Smith said that he wished to use the incidents at the trial to show the defendant’s prior use of a weapon and her state of mind when angered. He admitted that he had misunderstood the date of the deadline.Because Smith failed to make his arguments about why the incidents should be allowed to be part of his main case by a June 11 deadline, Eagle Judge Richard Hart ruled them inadmissible in the prosecution’s main case. The alleged incidents could be brought up in rebuttal or under other “hypothesis,” he said.Denson, 44, is charged with second-degree murder in the June 2002 slaying of her longtime boyfriend, Gerald “Cody” Boyd, at her Draggin A Ranch between Eagle and Gypsum.She owns Affinity and Hillis Furs in Aspen and Designer Furs in Vail.According to evidence already acknowledged by her defense attorney, Scott Robinson of Denver, she shot Boyd with a .44-calibre black powder pistol at close range on June 27 in the living area of her home.Robinson has entered an innocent plea on Denson’s behalf and he has reserved the right to use a self-defense argument.In two prior incidents, Denson allegedly used weapons in disputes.She allegedly fired shots at rafters near her property in July 1999 and threw rocks at rafters in June 1997, said Hart.Both the prosecution and the defense agreed that the tape of the 911 call Denson made shortly after shooting Boyd at her ranch at 1 p.m. would be admissible at trial.At the end of the call, the 911 operator instructed Denson to go outside the house with her hands in the air, until sheriff’s deputies arrived, Robinson said. The deputies had her lie down on the ground, face forward, with her hands behind her back and then handcuffed her, he said.Smith and Robinson argued whether statements Denson made to police during questioning at the ranch and in a 25-minute video tape made later at the sheriff’s office were admissible at the trial.Most of those statements by Denson were self-serving justifications for her actions and should not be allowed to be presented as evidence, Smith said.Robinson argued that they were just indicators of her state of mind shortly after a shocking event and should be allowed as evidence.Hart said would rule on their admissibility on July 15.Both the prosecution and the defense agreed that two homemade videotapes showing sexual activity with Denson and Boyd would not be shown to the jury, but that edited parts of the tapes showing alleged drug activity would be.Jury notices for jury candidates have already been sent out for the Aug. 11 murder trial, Hart said. He set a 12-person jury with two alternates for a nine-day trial.Denson did not attend the hearing, because she is in a drug rehabilitation program at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. She tested positive for cocaine use during a probation office drug test last month.She remains free on $600,000 bail.By Bernie GrauerAspen Daily News Staff Writer

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