No date set in trial of ex-No. Colorado backup punter

Updated: February 6, 2007, 5:16 PM ET
Associated Press

GREELEY, Colo. -- Investigators are still running tests on evidence gathered in the case of a former Northern Colorado backup punter accused of stabbing the starter, attorneys said Tuesday.

A judge had planned to set a trial date for Mitch Cozad, charged with attempted first-degree murder and second-degree assault, but held off so the Colorado Bureau of Investigation could finish its tests.

"There's still some more work to be done," said Joseph Gavaldon, Cozad's attorney. "We need to get together with the district attorney to see if this is a case that has to be tried. I'm hopeful to resolve any case. A case not tried is a case not lost."

Asked if a plea agreement was in the works, prosecutor Michele Meyer said: "I have not spoken to Mr. Gavaldon."

Cozad, of Wheatland, Wyo., is accused of stabbing Rafael Mendoza in his kicking leg on Sept. 11. Mendoza suffered a 3- to 5-inch deep knife wound when he was attacked in a dimly lit parking lot at his apartment complex.

Police have said they believe Cozad stabbed Mendoza in an attempt to get the starting job. The case drew quick comparisons to the assault by Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding's hit man on rival Nancy Kerrigan.

Cozad is free on $500,000 bail. If convicted, he could face up to 48 years in prison. He has been kicked off the football team and suspended from the university.

Mendoza returned to the team two weeks after the stabbing and averaged 39.9 yards on 56 punts.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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