Stockdale sentenced to 28 years
BRECKENRIDGE – Gesturing with a clenched fist for emphasis, 21-year-old Brian Guy Stockdale repeatedly told family and friends of Cody Bohdan Adam Wieland how sorry he was for his part in the beating death of the 36-year-old Breckenridge man Nov. 1, 2002.
“I am so incredibly sorry,” he said in court Monday afternoon. “I am very sorry for my involvement in this man’s death. I didn’t intend to hurt this man. I didn’t intend to kill him. I’m so sorry he’s no longer with us. Please know I am so sorry. I would do anything in my power to take back that night, but I cannot turn back time.”
District Court Judge David Lass sentenced Stockdale to 28 years in prison for his part in the death that rocked the soul of Breckenridge in the aftermath of an always-festive Halloween night.
District Attorney Mark Hurlbert asked Lass to sentence Stockdale to 30 years, but Lass noted the young man’s lack of a serious criminal history, his cooperation during the trial and his abiding by the extensive conditions of his bond. He gave him the 28 years instead.
A sheriff’s officer allowed Stockdale to hug family members and friends before leading him away in handcuffs.
In January, a jury found Stockdale guilty of manslaughter and first-degree assault for his part in the beating of Wieland in the 200 block of South Main Street.
Wieland died nine days later. Two others, Michael Scott Dietert and Brandon Robbins, both 22, face trial on second-degree murder charges this year in connection with Wieland’s death, which started as an altercation in the now-defunct Mambo’s bar and spilled out onto the sidewalk.
Stockdale faced 10 to 44 years in prison for his role in the beating Lass called senseless and brutal.
Hurlbert said he’s not sure how the sentence will affect the two other pending murder cases. A motion’s hearing in Robbins’ case is set for this afternoon.
“Each case is different,” Hurlbert said. “Each has its own aggravating and mitigating factors.”
Judge issues “clear message’
Lass issued the sentence after listening to more than two hours of requests from Wieland’s family to give Stockdale the stiffest sentence possible. Pleas came from Stockdale’s friends and family to go lenient on a young man said to be intelligent, compassionate and kind.
Lass said the murder was “one of the most, if not the most, serious offenses under our system of law. It was the brutal senseless killing of another human being. He definitely ignored several opportunities to avoid a tragic incident. He was drinking under age, he could’ve walked away, he could have encouraged his friends to let it go, he could have intervened to stop the beating, he could have stayed and rendered assistance. If he had done any of these things, we might not be here today.”
He added, however, that, as the first member of the Stockdale family to attend college, Brian Stockdale could be a prime candidate for rehabilitation. “I want to send a clear message … that an incident of this nature is totally unacceptable to this community and society as a whole,” Lass said. “But Brian Stockdale may yet prove to be a productive member of society.”
Family, town officials have say
Hurlbert sent several people to the podium, from Wieland’s widow, Katie, to town council member and mayoral candidate Ernie Blake, to show how the murder has affected the family as well as the community.
Katie Wieland told the judge she wonders what she will tell her 3-year-old son, Bohdan, who didn’t speak for almost a year after his father’s death. He suffers from separation anxiety and is attending a support group for children whose parents have died.
“He will know his father was a man who was beaten to death in his own town by three men,” she said. “He has a long road ahead of him. I’d like to ask you to sentence him (Stockdale) an eye for an eye, but that kind of justice isn’t available. I ask you to sentence him to the maximum sentence for each charge, but that won’t lessen the impact of the crime or make the nightmares less frequent.”
After the sentencing, Katie Wieland said she accepts Lass’ sentence, but wished she felt more closure in the incident.
“I’m frustrated beyond words,” she said. “I expected to find some sort of end. But Cody isn’t any less dead. There’s no closure or questions answered by Brian’s arrest. He’s a liar, a coward, he didn’t own up and take responsibility and he has no remorse. It’s all meaningless.”
Her mother-in-law – Cody Wieland’s mother, Jocelan Martell, also appealed to the judge on behalf of Bohdan.
She recalled the days after the beating when hospital nurses wouldn’t let her touch her son. She showed a videotape of photos from Cody Wieland’s life, and recalled Nov. 10, when the family decided to take the man off life support.
“After a week, I would say, “No, not this day; please not this day,'” Martell recalled, sobbing. “And Sunday, Nov. 10 at 1 in the afternoon, I said, “Now,’ to my boy. I brushed his teeth, cleaned his face, brushed the blood out of his hair. I said goodbye to my son. A mother doesn’t say, “Yes, turn the life support off my son.’ Those days will be with me forever.”
Others spoke of the loss of innocence the community experienced that night.
“He’ll pay for that act of aggression, and he’ll be free,” said Robert Hughes, a friend of Wieland’s. “I’ll never have my friend back. There’s a stain on my heart and on this community as big as the pool of blood left on the sidewalk that cold November night.”
Councilmember Blake, in a joint statement with police chief Rick Holman, noted that media exposure in the incident – notably an article called “Boys Gone Wild” in Westword, a Denver paper with a circulation of 100,000 – makes it hard to depict Breckenridge as a safe, idyllic resort town.
“But the saddest part is how totally avoidable it was,” he said. “This was not a crime of passion. Mr. Wieland was pursued, caught, taken down, held down and brutally beaten by three young men who could’ve easily walked away.”
Friends and family members of Stockdale asked Lass for leniency, saying that Stockdale comes from a loving family, has found Christian values and, despite what others said Monday afternoon, has intense remorse for his actions that night.
“Make sure this search for justice doesn’t become a crusade, a search for vengeance,” said family friend Ron Herrera. “Brian has more to offer this world than any wrongdoing he may be responsible for.”
Others asked Lass not to give up on Stockdale and his potential to become a productive member of society.
“Give my son a chance,” said Dave Stockdale, as his wife sobbed in the seats behind her son. “Don’t put him away for the rest of his life. It won’t benefit anybody.”
To Lass, Brian Stockdale said, “I’m sorry for what the town of Breckenridge had to experience. Please know I’m a respectable individual. Someday, I will contribute to this society, given a chance.”
– Last we knew: A jury found Brian Stockdale guilty of manslaughter and first-degree assault for his part in the Nov. 1, 2002, beating of Cody Wieland, 36.
– The latest: District Court Judge David Lass sentenced 21-year-old Stockdale to 28 years in prison.
– What’s next: Two others implicated in the case, Michael Scott Dietert and Brandon Robbins, both 22, face trial on second-degree murder charges in connection with Wieland’s death. A motions
hearing is scheduled for this
afternoon in Robbins’ case.
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