BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A former Boulder police officer convicted of killing a treasured bull elk in an upscale neighborhood was sentenced Friday to four years of probation.
Sam Carter, 37, was on duty when he killed the elk known as “Big Boy” on New Year’s Day 2013 while it grazed under a crabapple tree. He did not report firing his weapon and then said the animal had been injured and needed to be put down.
Prosecutors said text messages between Carter and another former Boulder police officer, Brent Curnow, showed the shooting was planned. The elk was a fixture in the neighborhood and its killing inspired marches, vigils, a tribute song and plans for a memorial.
A jury convicted Carter in June of nine charges, including three felonies — forgery, tampering with evidence and attempting to influence a public official. Carter, who faced up to six years in prison, also was ordered Friday to complete 200 hours of community service, serve on a work crew for 30 days and pay $10,200 in fines.
“I want to apologize to the citizens of Boulder, and I’m asking the court to allow me the chance to repair the damage that I’ve caused,” he said during the sentencing hearing. “I am haunted by this incident every day.”
Carter did not comment on the judge’s decision after leaving the courtroom.
Curnow faced the same charges as Carter, but he took a plea deal and received a deferred sentence, 60 days of home detention and probation. Prosecutors said Carter called Curnow to come cart away the body in his pickup truck, and together they butchered the animal for its meat.
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