Dietert murder case heads to District Court |

Dietert murder case heads to District Court

BRECKENRIDGE – Accused murderer Michael Scott Dietert will head to district court April 5 where he can agree to plead guilty to manslaughter or face trial on more serious charges in the Cody Wieland case.

Dietert is one of three young men charged with first-degree assault and second-degree murder in the beating and subsequent death of Wieland, 36, on Nov. 1, 2002.

One of the men, Brian Stockdale, was found guilty in January of first-degree assault and manslaughter for his part in the incident.

Last month, District Court Judge David Lass sentenced him to 28 years in prison. Another, Brandon Robbins, next appears in court on a motions hearing April 7.

By agreeing to bind the case over to District Court, the defense cannot bring the case back to County Court for a preliminary hearing to dispute the evidence against him.

At the April 5 hearing, Lass will advise Dietert of the charges and repercussions, at which point Dietert can plead to manslaughter instead of the formal charges.

If he pleads guilty, the case will move to sentencing. Manslaughter is punishable by two to six years in prison. If he pleads innocent, the case will head to trial.

There is still the chance that Dietert’s attorney, Dan Recht, will submit a fifth plea agreement to the court.

The first plea agreement reportedly included a stipulated sentence of parole in exchange for a guilty plea of felony manslaughter.

The second plea would have involved Dietert pleading guilty to the felony manslaughter charge in exchange for testifying against Stockdale and Robbins.

Dietert’s testimony would purportedly allege that Stockdale and Robbins were the primary aggressors in the attack, with Robbins striking Wieland in the head with a metal, military-style helmet.

The third plea would have given Dietert a maximum of 18 months in county jail on the misdemeanor assault charge and a deferred judgment on the manslaughter felony.

A deferred judgment, for four years in this case, means that if Dietert stays out of trouble, the felony is wiped from his record.

The fourth plea would have involved Dietert pleading guilty to third-degree assault and manslaughter in exchange for his testimony. He also would have received a deferred judgment on the manslaughter count and received up to two years in county jail on the assault charge.

Dietert’s sentencing also would have been postponed until the conclusion of trials for Robbins and Stockdale.

Dietert has indicated he is willing to testify against Robbins and Stockdale. Recht has said he intends to make sure Dietert does not go to state prison, where those who testify against fellow suspects are not warmly welcomed.

Lass and Chief District Judge Terry Ruckriegle of Breckenridge denied all four plea agreements, saying they will not accept an agreement that gives Dietert no prison time.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228 or

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