Eagle murder possibly "self-defense,’ attorney says | SummitDaily.com

Eagle murder possibly "self-defense,’ attorney says

by Veronica Whitney, Vail Daily staff writer

EAGLE COUNTY – The attorney for an Eagle horse rancher accused of shooting her ex-boyfriend said Monday his case may focus on self-defense.

“Facts of what occurred that day make it clear that self-defense could be part of the case and it may be all of this case,” said Denver attorney Scott Robinson. “I anticipate that physical evidence will show that the shot was fired in self-defense.”

Kathleen “Kathy” Denson, 44, owner of the 77-acre Draggin’ A Ranch between Gypsum and Eagle, as well as the owner of Designer Furs in Vail, is charged with second-degree murder in the June 27 shooting death of Gerald “Cody” Boyd, 45, of Vail.

Eagle County Sheriff’s Detective Doug Winters said between collected evidence and information gathered from witnesses, there is enough probable cause to arrest Denson on a second-degree murder charge.

Denson, who is being held at the Eagle County jail on a $5 million bond set by County Judge Terri S. Diem, has a bond hearing today in Eagle County Court. Robinson said he will ask the judge to lower the bond to $75,000.

“That’s a typical bond for a second-degree murder case,” Robinson said. “Second-degree murder isn’t a capital offense.”

The investigation continues, but little information has been available to the public since Judge Diem on July 1 sealed the court files for the case at the request of the defense and the prosecution.

“The files have been sealed in order to ensure that the defendant’s right to a fair trial isn’t impacted by pretrial publicity,” said Mike Goodbee, district attorney for Eagle County. “Also, to respect her right to an unbiased jury.”

The majority of the information will come out at the preliminary hearing, Goodbee added.

Denson was arrested June 27 after Eagle County sheriff’s deputies arrived at her ranch at 14245 U.S. Highway 6 at 1:15 p.m. and found Boyd lying dead in the living room with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Mike McWilliams said Denson called 911, saying she’d just shot her ex-boyfriend.

Mary Jo Boyd, Gerald Boyd’s mother, said Kathy Denson called her in Collinsville, Ill., the night before the shooting.

“I knew Kathy well and I liked her,” Mary Jo Boyd said. “She called me and said she was upset and angry. She (Denson) said she was afraid he (Boyd) was leaving her and going away with another woman.”

Boyd said her son and Denson had been living together for four years, but he had moved out a month ago. A week before the shooting Denson bought Gerald Boyd a wedding ring and asked him to marry her, his mother said. He said “no,” she said.

“My son wasn’t a violent man,” Mary Jo Boyd said. “He loved Kathy, and she loved him.”

At the Eagle County jail, Kathy Denson has declined to comment publicly about her case.

Robinson said the fact the shooting occurred at Denson’s home with a single shot could make the case a “Make My Day case,” which under Colorado law allows homeowners to use reasonable and necessary force to protect themselves or their property of an intruder.

“In my experience, the trial of self-defense begins and ends with physical evidence collected at the scene and the statements of the survivor,” Robinson said.

There can be a possibility of self-defense, but that’s for a jury to decide, Winters said.

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