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    Cozad found guilty of assault

    GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - A former college backup punter accused of stabbing a rival in a desperate bid to become the starter was found guilty of second-degree assault Thursday, but jurors acquitted him of attempted first-degree murder.

    Mitch Cozad, who faces up to 16 years in prison, was led away in handcuffs and must remain in jail while awaiting sentencing on Oct. 2.
    Cozad, of Wheatland, Wyo., was accused of stabbing Northern Colorado starting punter Rafael Mendoza last Sept. 11.

    Mendoza said he could not identify his attacker. The defense argued it was another student who stabbed Mendoza.

    Cozad shook his head as the verdict was read. His fiancee, Michelle Weydert, broke into uncontrollable sobbing as the cuffs clicked shut around his wrists.

    Cozad's mother, Suzanne Cozad, shouted at prosecutors, "You all know he passed the polygraph, you all know it." No polygraph test was introduced as evidence in the trial.

    Mendoza was stabbed in a dimly lit parking lot outside his apartment in Evans, a small town adjacent to Greeley. He was left with a deep gash in his kicking leg but returned to play later in the season. He worked out with the team during its first practice of the 2007 season on Wednesday.

    Mendoza stared at Cozad as the verdict was read but said nothing.

    In six days of testimony and arguments, prosecutors portrayed Cozad as an ambitious but frustrated athlete who could not find any way to break out of his backup role other than stabbing Mendoza.

    Defense attorney Joseph Gavaldon, who called only three witnesses, argued Cozad was a gentle and laid-back student who wouldn't resort to a knife attack.

    Jury foreman Tim Scholfield read a statement on behalf of the panel saying the case was difficult.

    "This has not been an easy decision for us to make, and none of us are happy about having reached the conclusion we did," he said. "We are all satisfied that with the information given this is the correct verdict."

    Cozad's father, Richard Cozad, lashed out at the court system.

    "We don't have a system of justice. We have a system of 'Observe the opportunity, evaluate the potential, exploit it to the fullest,"' he said. "It's not a system of justice, it's a system of politics."

    The attempted first-degree murder charge carried a sentence of up to 48 years.

    this guy is a complete idiot

    sig by B4B6..

  • #2

    I didn't get the starting kicker job, and I was pretty fired up about it, but I didn't go and stab the first string man.

    I congratulated him.

    He even offered to step down and let me kick but I said no thanks and that he earned it.
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    • #3
      Sure, he passed the polygraph test......

      And I'm sure he was just out for a nightly stroll when him and his buddy were removing duck tape from his licensce plate, or when his buddy testified that he was there at the scene of the crime at the time of the incident.

      I'm glad he didn't get the 1st degree murder charge though. Albeit crazy, it didn't sound like he wanted to kill him, but just incapacitate.

      Oh, and I love how the dad said its politics. Its a conspiracy theory against 3rd string punters here in America, we don't view them as citizens.


      • #4
        He's a complete idiot and so is his family.
        The new website is about as ugly as Paris Hilton. Put the blue back!


        • #5
          nm. i thought he was already charged guilty a long time ago


          • #6
            Polygraph tests aren't that accurate anyway. It tests if your heat rate speeds up when asked about a question. But you could be nervous about the fact that you just have to take one. I'd be nervous if I had to take one of those. And some people can become completely calm about it even if they are lying.


            • #7
              They never had hard evidence in this case... The closest thing is a liquor owner whom did not make his statment untill 2 hours after police arrived about taking tape off of a license plate and the number belonged to the cozar guy... and he was with one other guy.

              They couldn't have got him for 1 1st degree charge.

              For a person that did not see what happend...

              I really just dont see any evidence in case but only coincendence on a kid no one ever liked and picked on at school because he was quite and a "loser"

              He understood already that he was not a great nor a good kicker. He knew why he was unable to make the depth chart. He missed 2 extra points in a game...

              They should of had a polygraph test done and utalized in court because would have been a whole lot more credible then what they had...


              • #8
                i read the title and wanted to cry

                RIP Darrent It's been one year, Gone but never Forgotten.

                I Adopted JayCutler4MVP!!! and DJ Williams


                • #9
                  Whenever I hear this story I bust out laughing....I just think its so funny that the back up PUNTER would stab the starting PUNTER.. I mean did he think he would get away with it and then be able to start?


                  • #10
                    i would LOVE to read the transcripts of this case, it doesnt look like there was any hard evidence at all
                    sig pic removed by mod staff.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dandaman23
                      Whenever I hear this story I bust out laughing....I just think its so funny that the back up PUNTER would stab the starting PUNTER.. I mean did he think he would get away with it and then be able to start?
                      Well, that, and there was another punter ahead of Cozad........

                      Originally posted by tsiguy96
                      i would LOVE to read the transcripts of this case, it doesnt look like there was any hard evidence at all
                      I think the reason they convicted him was because despite the evidence not being bullet proof, the best the defense could do was "prove it" since Cozad didn't have an alibi, etc.

                      They did have him at the scene of the crime and with suspicious actions with the license plate. I'm guessing something else was there too. Maybe they had the weapon?


                      • #12
                        I think his girlfriend at the time did him in in the end.

                        I saw her on the news the other night, and heard that bit of it.

                        She had originally been his alibi, but recanted.

                        And she showed a text mesage on her phone where he asked her to cover for him during that time.

                        PROOF? Maybe not.

                        But I think that's what swung the jury.


                        • #13
                          I cant say whether he did it or not, but what happend to reasonable doubt. I'd say there is just not enough evidence to convict the guy. It'll be interesting to see if the punishment reflects that.
                          "On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, 'Okay, this is the limit'. And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high."
                          Ayrton Senna..