Rancher charged with murder | VailDaily.com

Rancher charged with murder

Veronica Whitney

Kathleen “Kathy” Denson, 44, owner of the Draggin’ A Ranch between Gypsum and Eagle, was arrested Thursday for the alleged murder of Gerald “Cody” Boyd, 45, of Vail.

Denson is being held at the Eagle County jail on a $5 million bond set by County Judge Terri S. Diem. Denson’s next court appearance is set for July 16.

Second-degree murder – knowingly causing the death of someone – is a class-II felony with a sentence of eight to 24 years in prison, said Deputy District Attorney Brenda Parks. Denson also was charged with the use of a deadly weapon, which double the sentence if Denson is found guilty, Parks said.

“We decided on these charges based on the evidence considered so far,” Parks said.

Parks declined to comment further after Judge Diem sealed the courts files for the case.

Denson was arrested Thursday after Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at her ranch at 14245 U.S. Highway 6 and found Boyd lying dead in the living room with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Mike McWilliams said Denson called 911 at 1:15 p.m. Thursday saying she’d just shot her ex-boyfriend.

Denson appeared in court Monday with Frank Zlogar, her attorney, who said his client would be pleading not guilty.

Zlogar declined to make further comments because he said new counsel would be hired to continue the case.

Zlogar is a civil attorney and Denson needs a criminal attorney, Parks explained.

Detectives also conducted a search warrant and collected evidence at Denson’s ranch. McWilliams declined to say what had been found because of the judge’s gag order.

“We’re doing follow-up investigations and interviewing friends and family members who knew Boyd and Denson,” McWilliams said.

Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Doug Winters said Boyd had been in the valley for several years and had been staying with Denson. Boyd, who wasn’t steadily employed and did odd jobs, had family in Illinois and Texas, Winters said.

Denson’s bond was set at $5 million because the judge took into account Denson’s ability to make bond, McWilliams said.

“This is a serious charge and she (Denson) is a wealthy woman,” he said.

In June 2000, when Denson voiced concerns against a proposed interchange on Interstate 70 that would have provided direct access to Eagle County Airport, she called her ranch “the largest quarter-horse breeding operation in Colorado and the ninth-largest in the world.”

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

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