Greeley, Co – Jurors have started deliberating the fate
of a former University of Northern Colorado backup punter accused
of stabbing the starter.
Mitchell Cozad of Wheatland, Wyoming is charged with attempted
first-degree murder and second-degree assault in the knife attack
on Rafael Mendoza last September.
The prosecution and defense wrapped up their closing arguments
yesterday afternoon just as court recessed for the day.
Prosecutors portrayed Cozad as an ambitious but frustrated
athlete who couldn't break out of his backup role at U-N-C. They
says he stabbed Mendoza in his kicking leg in a desperate attempt
to take over the top job.
Cozad's lawyer argued Cozad was a gentle and laid-back student
who wouldn't resort to a knife attack.
The defense claimed another student stabbed Mendoza. That
student, Kevin Aussprung, denied he was the attacker while
testifying during Cozad's trial.
Cozad did NOT testify in his own defense.
He could face up to 48 years in prison if convicted of both