‘Make My Day’ made Denson’s case | VailDaily.com

‘Make My Day’ made Denson’s case

Staff Reports

Local fur-store owner Kathleen “Kathy” Denson may not have done the right or moral thing by shooting her ex-lover to death at her Draggin-A Ranch near Eagle last year, but she did the legal thing, and that saved her from a murder conviction.The shooting ended once and for all a tangled three-way love affair between Denson, a longtime employee and supposed friend, Monica “Monique” Seebacher, and Gerald “Cody” Boyd, a Texas teller of tales, womanizer and no-account drifter, according to some.Because the state’s Home Intruder law creates a broad shield of immunity over people defending their homes from unlawful intrusion and suspected bodily harm, an Eagle jury of nine men and three women took just over two hours Monday, Aug. 25 to acquit her on all charges.The prosecution charged Denson with second-degree murder and using a deadly weapon in killing Boyd, age 44 at his death, on June 27, 2002, placing her in jeopardy of a 16- to 48-year prison term.Prosecutors also brought a lesser charge of manslaughter. She had been free on $600,000 bond, secured by her 77-acre quarter horse ranch.The owner of two well-know fur stores in Aspen and one in Vail, Denson appeared in court during the 10-day trial dressed in stylish but conservative designer clothing. A tall, lanky, blonde horsewoman, Denson, 46, exhibited the air of a composed fashion model rather than a murder defendant.The prosecution alleged that Denson finally acknowledged to herself, just a few days before the shooting, more than four years of manipulation by Boyd and Seebacher.Boyd had moved out of her home and into Seebacher’s Vail condominium and Denson became enraged at her humiliation. She killed Boyd when he came to visit her that afternoon, seeking $23,000 to fix his rotten teeth.The defense argued that Boyd, hopped up on cocaine, entered the home uninvited, demanded $300,000 from Denson as blackmail for him not to hurt her grown son and then lunged at her in a fit of anger, attempting to harm her.A chemical expert testified that Boyd had traces of a large quantity of cocaine in his body that had been taken shortly before the shooting.”According to the law, you are not to make a moral decision on the shooting,” Denson’s high-profile, expensively dressed, Denver defense attorney Scott Robinson told the jury. “It’s a legal decision on whether she did what she felt that she had to do in order to protect herself from harm.”Even district attorney Greg Crittenden admitted that Boyd was not a saint. He bragged about being a hit man and a bounty hunter at one time and people said that he was lazy, used drugs and used Denson for money.Making a split-second decision to pick up a loaded black powder, replica 1858 U.S. Army revolver from her dining room table, she whirled around in her dining room chair and shot Boyd at close range, as he was coming at her, Denson testified.Denson said that she intended to hit Boyd, but not to kill him.In an instant, she ended more than four years of torment and love, splitting asunder Boyd’s heart with a heavy lead ball that penetrated 10 inches into his chest in a left-to-right, upward-moving path that lodged in his right shoulder.Boyd fell backward onto his back from the powerful blast and died in minutes on her living room floor, gasping for air, according to a 911 tape aired during the trial.”He doesn’t deserve to die,” she said on the tape. “He’s on his back. His eyes are wide open and he’s not breathing.”After shooting him at close range, Denson said that at first she did not know if she hit Boyd.”Then I saw him falling falling, falling, backwards, onto the floor,” she testified.The chain of events that led up to the fatal resolution of the intractable love triangle was “weird” and “bizarre,” according to both the prosecution and the defense. It involved consumption of large amounts of illegal drugs, a veritable arsenal of semi-automatic rifles and video and still photos of Denson and Boyd having sex.Police investigators found six replica assault rifles and a heavily modified “sniper” rifle locked in a gun safe at Denson’s home, they testified. A video camera and a photo album at the house contained photos of Boyd and Denson engaged in sex.Boyd had been switching his romantic attentions back and forth between Denson and Seebacher over a four-year period. The fact that his teeth had all rotted away from neglect did not dissuade the two attractive women from vying for his attentions.The trio went on a vacation to Mexico last May, paid for by Denson, she testified. They stayed in a single hotel room together, but at no time did they engage in a “three-way” sexual relationship.During the vacation, Boyd slapped her around, bruising her face, she said. She flew home early, but still picked up Seebacher and Boyd from the Denver airport on their return, because “I had promised them.”With Seebacher’s assistance, Denson said she purchased a wedding ring and intended proposing marriage to Boyd in early May, while Seebacher knew that Boyd was preparing to move in with her in her small Vail condo.Denson also testified that she admitted a brief affair with another man, Geno, to Boyd at that time in an attempt to clear the air and start fresh in a married relationship. She acknowledged giving Boyd a check for $100,000 to make up for the pain and embarrassment he suffered from her affair.Boyd proceeded to buy several toys, including a $26,000 Harley Davidson motorcycle and a used Corvette. According to state records, he did not use any of the money to pay down the $24,385 he owed in back child support.A pad of paper that police found on her dining room table on the day of the killing had notes that Denson said she wrote, saying, “I’m at a loss to compete and be treated with such disrespect.”Just days before the shooting, she wrote, “I’m in desperate need of my soul mate (Boyd). “I did do Geno in part to prove I could get past my love for you. I want to grow old with you.”By unloading the heavy lead ball from a .44-caliber replica revolver deep into Boyd’s chest that hot summer afternoon, Denson wrote the final chapter to a tormented relationship and ended her dream. By Bernie Grauer

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