County District Court No. 13CR2514 Honorable Robin L.
Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General, Jillian J. Price,
Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for
Douglas K. Wilson, Colorado State Public Defender, Andrew C.
Heher, Deputy State Public Defender, Denver, Colorado, for
1 Defendant, Brandon Chad Cockrell, appeals the judgment
entered on jury verdicts finding him guilty of first degree
murder and two violent crime sentence enhancers. We affirm.
2 Two mountain bikers found the victim while they were riding
on a trail just outside of Colorado Springs and stopped to
help. At about the same time, a couple driving down the road
also saw the victim and stopped to help. The victim was
dressed only in his underwear and socks and had injuries to
his neck and chest. The bystanders began asking him questions
about what had happened and who had shot him, and, in an
effort to keep him awake until help could arrive, asked him
more general questions about his background and life. The
victim told them he was dying, but was able to answer their
questions and said that he knew who had shot him. He did not,
however, provide the shooter's name.
3 When the paramedics arrived, they loaded the victim into
the ambulance and rushed him to the hospital. An officer rode
in the front of the ambulance and asked the victim questions
about what had happened and who had shot him. The victim
eventually identified Cockrell as the shooter.
4 By the time he arrived at the hospital, the victim was
barely conscious. He had eleven gunshot wounds. He died soon
thereafter during surgery.
5 Cockrell was ultimately arrested and charged with first
degree murder and two crime of violence sentence enhancers.
No DNA, fingerprint, or other forensic evidence tied Cockrell
to the victim's murder. The primary evidence against him
was the victim's dying declaration identifying Cockrell
as the shooter and a bystander's statement that he saw a
car leaving the area around the same time the victim was
found that matched the description of the car Cockrell drove.
6 In a detailed and well-supported order, the trial court
denied Cockrell's motions to suppress the dying
declaration and to find section 13-25-119, C.R.S. 2017,
7 A jury found Cockrell guilty as charged. The court
sentenced him to a term of life without the possibility of
parole in the custody of the Department of Corrections.
Facial Constitutional Challenge
8 Cockrell contends that section 13-25-119, the dying
declaration statute, is unconstitutional on its face because
it violates the Confrontation Clause under the principles
established in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36
(2004). We disagree.
9 We review the constitutionality of a statute de novo.
People v. Helms, 2016 COA 90, ¶ 15. Statutes
are presumed to be constitutional. Id. Therefore,
the party challenging them has the burden of proving they are
unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt. Id.
10 The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and
article II, section 16 to the Colorado Constitution protect a
defendant's right to confront the witnesses against him.
This right requires that a defendant be given a meaningful