Boulder ex-officer accused of killing trophy elk found guilty on all counts

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A Boulder police officer with a dead elk (Photo: Lara Koenig).

A Boulder police officer with a dead elk (Photo: Lara Koenig).

BOULDER, Colo. — A Boulder jury has found the former police officer accused of shooting and killing a trophy elk guilty on all nine counts.

Sam Carter, 37, faced four felony counts along with misdemeanor charges in connection with the plot to illegally shoot and kill the animal out of season.

Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett said after the verdict was read that he didn’t want Carter to ever work as a police officer again. Conviction on four felonies will likely make that happen.

During closing statements, prosecutors showed the jury text messages Cater sent to fellow officer Brent Curnow from that night.

Investigators said Carter and Curnow killed the elk in January 2013 in a Mapleton neighborhood, with little regard for the safety of others in the area. Cell phone records also suggest the two former officers had been plotting to kill the elk for over a week.

Prosecutors said Carter shot the elk, known as “Big Boy,” on Mapleton Hill while he was on duty. The officer initially told police he shot the elk because he noticed it was hurt, but a necropsy revealed no evidence of a prior injury.

“This is about a police officer using his authority to deceive people,” said Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett.

Carter’s attorney, Carrie Slinkyard, said Carter put down the animal because it was aggressive.

She added that “shoddy” police work and intense media coverage caused an “outcome based” investigation.

Slinkyard said prosecutors were “not proud of their investigation,” and “If they can’t dot their T’s and cross their I’s, Mr. Carter is not guilty.”

Carter was charged with one count of attempting to influence a public official, one count of forgery and two counts of tampering with physical evidence — all felonies.

The other charges were misdemeanor counts of first-degree official misconduct, illegal possession of a trophy elk with a Samson Law surcharge, conspiracy to commit illegal possession of wildlife, unlawfully taking of a big game animal out of season and unlawful use of an electronic communication device to unlawfully take wildlife.

Carter didn’t talk to the media after the verdict. His sentencing will take place in August. He could get up to six years in prison.