Jury views video statement in murder case
BRECKENRIDGE – Trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday in the Cody Wieland murder case, a proceeding that’s been fraught with emotional testimony and questions about eyewitnesses’ memories. Courts are closed today in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Brian Stockdale, 21, is the first of three men to be tried in the assault and subsequent death of Cody Wieland on Nov. 1, 2002.
Wieland, 36, died nine days later of massive head injuries.
The four engaged in a fight that spilled out from the now-defunct Mambos restaurant and bar onto Main Street.
Last week, eyewitnesses said the three men ganged up on Wieland, with Stockdale repeatedly kicking him while Brandon Robbins, 22, beat him with a military helmet. Police also charged Michael Dietert, 22, with second-degree murder in the incident.
Friday, the 14-member jury viewed a two-hour police-filmed videotape of Stockdale, who told police Nov. 2, 2002, he wanted to talk to them about the incident.
The jury also heard defense attorney Cynthia McKedy as she grilled police officers about alleged shortcomings in their investigation of the incident.
In his videotaped statements to then-Breckenridge Police Detective (now Sgt.) Susan Quesada and Sheriff’s Office investigator Dick Cleveland, Stockdale said Wieland had threatened and flirted with Robbins’ mother earlier that month, and that the men even gave him $100 to stop following them.
The fight began when they spotted Wieland in the bar allegedly making threatening gestures as if he wanted to fight.
“I had a bad feeling it was going to escalate because we’d had a prior incident with him,” Stockdale said. “I got a feeling he wanted revenge really bad.”
Stockdale said he and his two friends said they “should all go kick his ass. It was a moment of passion. Just because you have a thought like that doesn’t mean that’s really your intention.”
Stockdale said he was walking south on Main Street when Wieland charged him from across the street, striking him in the jaw.
The two fell to the ground, Stockdale said, and he wasn’t able to free himself from under Wieland until he heard a loud “thonk” – presumably when Robbins allegedly struck Wieland on the head with his metal helmet – and Wieland stopped fighting.
“I couldn’t figure out how he went from being on top of me, beating the s– out of me, to being on the ground – and the blood,” Stockdale said. “I was freaking out.”
Stockdale said the three met at another friend’s house and contemplated what to do.
“I wasn’t the one who put him in the hospital – he hit me first,” Stockdale said. “I had no intention of fighting, of hurting this guy. It’s just a real bad situation.”
Police arrested the three the following day.
Next to testify was Quesada, who led the investigation. She testified about Stockdale’s clothing, which Stockdale said he’d washed, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) determined was free of blood.
On cross-examination, however, McKedy asked her why she didn’t list the demeanor of the eyewitnesses in her reports, why she failed to flip an audiotape over during an interview and why she didn’t show eyewitnesses a photo lineup that included a purported fourth man – later identified as Derek Kutzer – on the scene.
She asked why it wasn’t until three days prior to the start of trial that measurements were taken of the crime scene and why no photos were taken the night of the crime.
Quesada said she’s not sensitive to peoples’ demeanors and that Kutzer wasn’t a suspect because Dietert said the fight involved himself and the
McKedy also noted that some of the eyewitnesses’ recollections in court last week didn’t match what they had reported to police the day of the incident or at the preliminary hearing last spring.
She specifically noted that witness Loren Mendenhall, who couldn’t identify Stockdale in a photo lineup or in the courtroom during the preliminary hearing, still was able to do so during testimony last week.
She also pointed out that some eyewitnesses had said there were four people attacking Wieland, but now were testifying that there were only three.
“We have inconsistent report after inconsistent report after inconsistent report,” McKedy said. “And nothing adds up.”
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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