Samuel Carter, ex-Boulder cop, found guilty in killing of neighborhood elk
Back in January 2013, we told you about the arrest of two Boulder police officers, Samuel Carter and Brent Curnow, on charges related to the shooting and killing of Big Boy, an elk beloved by members of the Mapleton neighborhood. Authorities suspected they bagged the elk as a trophy, then lied about it.
Additional photos, a video and more below.
Curnow took a plea deal in the case, but Carter went all the way to trial -- and he has now been found guilty of multiple counts. We've got photos, video, the original arrest report and details of the verdict below.
As we reported, an officer later identified as Carter shot and killed a bull elk in the area of Ninth Avenue and Mapleton Street after 11 p.m. on January 1 of last year. According to the initial Boulder Police news release, Carter was on routine patrol when he saw the elk, which he says appeared to be injured. Some of the elk's antlers had been broken off and it was limping, police said.
Samuel Carter's booking photo.
"In the officer's judgment, the animal needed to be humanely put down," read the statement. The officer fired one shot from a shotgun, killing the elk, which was in a residential yard. That animal was then "taken home to be processed for meat by another officer [Curnow], who was off-duty at the time."
It didn't take long for this story to unravel. For one thing, neither officer had immediately reported the incident. This news was followed by an image of Carter happily posing with the dead animal, as seen in this Boulder Daily Camera screen capture.
Next came word that Curnow runs his own taxidermy business -- a revelation that further fueled the anger of residents upset by what had happened and doubtful that the elk had been injured.
The Boulder District Attorney's Office soon launched an investigation to determine if criminal charges against Carter and Curnow were warranted -- and prosecutors ultimately determined that they were. The officers were booked on a mix of felony charges (including forgery, tampering with physical evidence and attempting to influence a public official) and misdemeanors (such as killing an elk out of season and unlawful taking of a trophy elk).
Much of the evidence accumulated against the officers is cataloged in the arrest affidavit issued in Carter's name. Here's one roster of factoids that seem to contradict his earlier claims:
• Carter was on duty that night and had admitted upon questioning that he had shot the elk.Even more damning were text messages between Carter, Curnow and a third law enforcer, beginning shortly after midnight on New Year's Day.
• Carter had not told his sergeant about concerns with an injured or aggressive elk.
• Carter did not contact dispatch when he went to the corner of 9th and Mapleton, where the elk was located, and never mentioned the elk to dispatch.
• Carter did not notify either his supervisor or dispatch that he was about to discharge a firearm, or had just discharged a firearm to kill the elk. He never mentioned the shot or having killed a trophy elk during the rest of his shift.
• Carter spent a prolonged period of time at 9th and Mapleton while loading the elk in Curnow's truck without checking in with dispatch.
• Carter had never attempted to contact CPW (Colorado Parks and Wildlife) on call or local district wildlife managers, officers with biological training to access injuries and aggressive behavior in wildlife, and with tools and capabilities to tranquilize and move large ungulates.
• Carter never asked dispatch or his supervisor to contact the City contracted knacker service to remove the animal, nor did he make any attempt to contact CPW to garner advice about disposition of an elk with trophy antlers.
• After clearing the scene Carter contacted his supervisor by phone and requested to go home sick. During this conversation killing of the elk was never mentioned.
Continue for more the conviction of Samuel Carter in the shooting of the Mapleton elk, including photos, video and the arrest affidavit.