Witnesses outline details in Halloween night death
BRECKENRIDGE – The men who allegedly attacked Cody Wieland in the wee hours of Nov. 1, 2002, assaulted him with revenge and hatred, an eyewitness in the incident said Thursday.
“They were all three kicking and hitting him,” said Tracy Cloyd, one of four eyewitnesses who took the stand Thursday in the second-degree murder trial of Brian Stockdale. “They hit him full force, with everything they had in them, as hard as you can kick something.”
Wieland, 36, suffered massive head injuries in the attack; he died nine days later after doctors took him off life support. Stockdale, 21, Michael Dietert and Brandon Robbins, both 22, are charged in the incident.
The first witness, Loren Mendenhall, said he and his three female friends started their Halloween festivities at a friend’s house in Breckenridge before going to the Salt Creek Saloon, Gold Pan bar and then Mambos, a late-night restaurant.
Mendenhall testified that after an altercation at Mambos, the bartender escorted Wieland out; the two were followed by Stockdale and the two other men. The bartender testified that Stockdale was aggressive, yelling, taunting, grabbing his crotch and tapping his chest before the bartender made them go their separate ways.
Mendenhall and the three women – Cloyd, Leni Williams and Carson Baker – headed south about a half-block behind Wieland when Stockdale rushed by at full speed. Mendenhall testified that Wieland put his hand out – whether to punch or brace against, Mendenhall couldn’t tell – Stockdale ran into Wieland and the two fell to the ground.
At that point, Dietert allegedly sat on Wieland’s legs while Robbins went to Wieland’s left side. Stockdale, Mendenhall said, began kicking the downed man.
“He kicked him really hard,” he testified. “He would take a step back and it was a full-stride kick. It wasn’t like he was trying to tap the ball in soccer. It was like he was trying to kick it really hard. And it wasn’t hit-wait, hit-wait, it was over and over again. Constant.”
On cross-examination, however, Mendenhall admitted that he couldn’t see Stockdale’s foot or Robbins’ helmet strike Wieland, but could only definitively see Stockdale’s swinging leg, Robbins’ swinging arm and Wieland’s head whipping from side to side.
“If he’d missed, he’d slip and fall,” Mendenhall said. “It would either hit completely or miss completely.”
Williams said she was yelling at the three to stop before they killed him. When asked why she thought the men might be killing Wieland, she cited the amount of blood, that three men were pitted against one and Wieland wasn’t fighting back.
“He looked like they were killing (him),” she said. “I’ve never seen people act like that. I’ve never seen such rage.”
Mendenhall and the women broke up the fight, the three men headed north on Main Street and the police were summoned.
He, the three women and a firefighter who arrived later each testified that Wieland was moaning incoherently and bleeding from the back of his head. Timothy Keeling, an emergency physician, said Wieland had a severe head injury – and the prognosis was very poor.
In cross-examination, defense attorney Cynthia McKedy tried to show how the witnesses’ testimony Thursday conflicted with police reports and testimony from the preliminary hearing. That testimony included comments about lighting in the area, how much of the assault any of them could see and reports of a fourth assailant in the incident.
In return, District Attorney Mark Hurlbert asked each defendant about their state of mind that day, most saying they were in shock and upset when they made the reports and could only testify as to what they remember now.
Testimony continues today and is scheduled to finish Jan. 23.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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