Sentence reduced in 2002 Breckenridge brawl
Summit Daily News
Summit County, Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE ” One of the culprits in the brutal 2002 beating death of a man on Main Street in Breckenridge won a two-year reduction in his sentence on Wednesday but not the more-dramatic cut he had sought based on his show of repentance.
Brandon Robbins had asked Senior District Court Judge David Lass to review his 13-year sentence for assault and to be allowed to serve a separate six-year prison term for manslaughter simultaneously.
In trimming the assault penalty to 11 years, Lass commended Robbins for his “remarkable” reformation but determined that the Halloween Eve death of Cody Wieland ” whose skull was fractured against the snowy sidewalk when a barroom spat spilled out into the streets ” still warranted a stiff penalty and ordered the sentences be served consecutively for a total of 17 years.
“I believe a concurrent sentence would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the offense,” said Lass, a retired judge who heard the original cases against Robbins and two other brawlers, Brian Guy Stockdale and Michael Dietert.
Appearing with a long ponytail in a black-and-white prison jumpsuit and shackled at the ankles, Robbins, now 28, detailed how in prison he has earned an associate’s degree and participated in career training, been an exemplary inmate, accepted responsibility for the crime and wanted to return to society.
Without fanfare, Robbins’ family actually purchased the home of Wieland’s mother, Jocelan Martell, so that she could continue living there, using rental income from a home he built before he went to prison to pay the mortgage.
Robbins has claimed that he didn’t instigate the fight, but witnesses indicated he used a military helmet to strike Wieland in the back of the head while Stockdale kicked him repeatedly and continued beating the 36-year-old father after he lost consciousness.
Wieland died nine days later.
“Each day is one more day of life taken from Cody. My life sentence becomes progressively heavier,” Martell told the court. “Cody’s son was 2 and now is 8. I think everyone understand what Cody’s losses are in this and how they increase daily, and a boy has forever lost his father.”
Stockdale is serving 26-1/2 years in prison for his role in the attack. Another man, Michael Dietert, served 18 months for his lesser role in the fight.
Wednesday’s hearing was the latest installment in a long legal saga surrounding Robbins, who twice has had his sentence overturned on appeal.
The Colorado Court of Appeals vacated the original 28-year prison term in 2006 after finding that Lass erred in relying on his notes from Stockdale’s trial when sentencing Robbins to consecutive prison terms ” rather than simultaneous ones.
A few months later, Lass gave Robbins a new sentence that was three years shorter.
Most recently, the appeals panel ruled that Lass improperly found “aggravating circumstances” when he sentenced Robbins to 12 years on the manslaughter charge, twice as long as is the standard maximum sentence.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert implored Lass to sentence Robbins to 13 years on the assault charge ” for which there were aggravating circumstances ” and six years for manslaughter, for a total of 19 years.
“This was a heinous crime. This was a horrible crime. The defendant and two others jumped Cody Wieland as he was walking away,” Hurlbert said. “…It is something that has affected this community, and you still hear about it, six years later.”
Lass, however, indicated that he was impressed with Robbins’ efforts in prison to better himself and make amends ” although he still decided that the sentences would be served consecutively rather than reducing his prison time to 13 years as requested.
“I believe he truly is remorseful and is eager to repay his debt to society. It is also my feeling that he is not a threat to society,” the judge said.