Murder case continues |

Murder case continues

BRECKENRIDGE – A judge warned District Attorney Mark Hurlbert and defense lawyer Daniel Recht Tuesday that no further delays in the case of Michael Scott Dietert will be tolerated.

This came after another judge last week became the second to deny a proposed plea agreement crafted by Hurlbert and Recht that would have spared Dietert a prison sentence in return for testifying against two other men in a murder case. Hurlbert and Recht said they would reach an agreement that would not only meet the judges’ approval, but that of the victim’s family and the defendant.

Dietert, 21, is charged with second-degree murder, along with Brian Stockdale and Brandon Robbins. The three were charged after an alleged altercation turned violent last Halloween night. Dietert, Stockdale and Robbins are accused of assaulting 36-year-old Cody Wieland on Main Street in what began as a verbal dispute in Mambo’s, a late-night eatery. Wieland died after nine days in intensive care.

Hurlbert and Recht had previously reached a plea agreement in which Dietert would plead guilty to a felony charge of manslaughter 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. Investigators could not find the helmet following the assault, and Robbins was charged with tampering with evidence for allegedly disposing of the helmet.

The attorneys presented the agreement to District Judge Terry Ruckriegle on May 19 and again on July 29. A judge must approve any plea agreement, and Ruckriegle denied this one because it included a stipulation that Dietert would receive a lengthy probation sentence, but no prison time. Ruckriegle said in those proceedings that he does not accept plea agreements with such stipulations.

Last week, the attorneys presented a similar agreement to District Judge David Lass. Lass also refused to approve the agreement.

The attorneys met Tuesday before County Court Judge Ed Casias for what was originally scheduled as a preliminary hearing, a prelude to a trial. Instead, the attorneys presented a motion to reschedule the preliminary hearing so that they could continue to negotiate a plea agreement.

Casias laid out his disapproval in plain words and warned the attorneys that further delays in the case would precipitate consequences.

“It seems to me we’re going nowhere in a hurry,” Casias said. “I’ll make it clear: Parties are out of time to reach an agreement.”

The judge agreed to continue the matter one last time. The attorneys accepted a rescheduled preliminary hearing date of Nov. 4 and plan to present an acceptable plea agreement by the time an Oct. 30 conference with the judge arrives.

After the proceeding, the attorneys said they were confident they would reach an agreement. Recht said he couldn’t elaborate on what alternatives are being considered but reaffirmed his determination to keep Dietert out of prison. Hurlbert said he will confer with the victim’s family on the deal.

Dietert headed home to San Antonio, Texas, where he is living and working as part of bond conditions.

Stockdale will appear in court Oct. 8 for a motions hearing. Attorneys are scheduled to enter motions in Robbins’ case on Nov. 7. Robbins was rearrested last month for violating a bond condition.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

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