Murder victim wasn’t "violent,’ ex-wife says |

Murder victim wasn’t "violent,’ ex-wife says

Veronica Whitney

Although he always had guns in the house while they were married, Gerald “Cody” Boyd didn’t like violence or hostilities, said his former wife Tuesday during testimony at the murder trial against local rancher Kathleen “Kathy” Denson.

“I never heard him telling stories of hurting people,” said Debra Griffith, mother of Callie, Boyd’s 12-year-old daughter. “I never saw him getting violent or being mean.”

Denson, 46, owner of the 77-acre Draggin’ A Ranch between Eagle and Gypsum, as well as Designer Furs in Vail, is charged with the second-degree murder of Boyd, her former boyfriend. Boyd, 45, died of a black powder-pistol shotgun wound on June 27, 2002 at Denson’s ranch.

The prosecution says Denson shot Boyd because of jealousy and because he was going to leave her. At the time of the shooting, Boyd was living with Monica Seebacher, a store manager for Denson in Vail.

The defense maintains Denson shot Boyd in self-defense.

In previous testimony, Boyd’s mother and Seebacher said Boyd told them he had been a hit man in a previous life.

“He liked to tell stories,” said Griffith, who was married nine years to Boyd. “(But) he never told me that.”

The restraining order

Griffith admitted, however, to filing a restraining order against Boyd in Santa Fe in June 2001. In it, Griffith said Boyd had threatened to abduct Callie and also to destroy her property.

“I didn’t believe he would hurt me,” Griffith testified. “I was a mess. I was covering my bases.”

Griffith said she filed the restraining order soon after the death of her second husband, Peter Griffith – Melanie Griffith’s father.

“I was suffering post traumatic disorder,’ she said. “I was under a lot of stress. I felt that way about everybody else.”

But Denson’s attorney, Scott Robinson, pointed out during Griffith’s cross-examination that at the time of filing the restraining order, there wasn’t a civil lawsuit pending as there is now.

In July 2002, Griffith, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Denson on behalf of his daughter. She is asking for about $366,000, the maximum amount allowable under Colorado’s wrongful death statute.

“Under oath you swore Cody Boyd had a violent temper, used drugs, had made threats and was stalking you,” Robinson told Griffith.

“He never said those things to me,” she said. “He said them to people in town.”

Robinson pointed out it would be advantageous for Griffith and her daughter if Denson is convicted.

“The $100,000 life (insurance) policy Boyd had in the name of Denson then would go to Callie,” he said. “Also, the outcome of this trial could help resolve the civil lawsuit in your favor.”

The defense’s turn

Tuesday, the prosecution ended its case – and Robinson started his.

First order of business was asking Eagle County District Judge Richard Hart to enter an acquittal verdict. Hart denied it.

Robinson also tried to discredit Seebacher, saying she had tried to access Boyd’s money market account at Mesa National Bank – where he had about $30,000 left of $100,000 that Denson had given him – and she had been inquiring about his life insurance after his death. When she was terminated from her job, Seebacher hired an attorney, who wrote to Denson that unless she paid her $200,000 she would sue immediately.

Seebacher also has filed a civil lawsuit against Denson in Eagle County District Court.

Seebacher was a key witness of the prosecution Monday. During her testimony, Seebacher admitted to doing cocaine with Denson and Boyd about 10 times, as well as going on a week-long vacation with them to Cancun, Mexico, the month before the shooting.

The trial, scheduled to end Thursday, could be extended another day, said prosecutor Phil Smith.

“The verdict could come in five minutes or five days,” Smith said.

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