Sam Carter, a former, Boulder, Colorado cop has been sentenced to 6 years jail after he killed ‘Big Boy’ a prized elk in the community.
The incident came to happen whilst the then officer was on duty on January 1st, 2013 when he came across the trophy elk munching on crab apple leaves.
The former cop’s conviction would also come to include trying to influence a public official and tampering with evidence.
At the time the premeditated killing riled up residents of Boulder, who fought back with candlelight vigils and a Facebook page demanding justice.
The elk was a majestic sight for residents and District Attorney Stan Garnett didn’t want the criminal charges to cloud “its impact on the community.”
“People who want to tease Boulder about this case have probably never seen an elk quite like this,” Garnett told the Daily Camera.
Tensions came to the fore after a photo of Carter posing with the dead Big Boy circulated around the community. The photo would depict the elk’s tongue hangs out on the curb where he was shot.
After the easy hunt, Carter forged a tag and claimed the elk had been injured and needed to be put down, but text messages show he hatched the plot with another police officer to bag the creature and butcher it.
Carter texted former police Officer Brent Curnow his plans to hunt the “wapiti,” the Shawnee word for elk, and hours before his shift, said, “He’s gonna die.”
Curnow helped Carter pick up the elk, but they later resigned from the Boulder Police Department nearly a month after the killing.
Curnow would accept a deal with prosecutors and plead guilty and was sentenced to a 60-day at home detention.
However, prosecutors declined to offer Sam Carter a similar plea deal because they wanted a trial to “vindicate” the community and show an officer abused his authority, Garnett added.
During testimony Sam Carter had argued that the elk had become dangerously domesticated and was scaring local dogs.
But prosecutors told the jury the killing was a case of poaching by an officer who sought to use his position to get an illegal trophy mount.
Reiterated Garnett: ‘They had no right to use their standing as police officers to poach this animal and lie about it.’
Told animal activist, Jessica Sandler: ‘Thought we’d much rather have the elk back alive, hopefully a lying and corrupt copy will be going to jail for betraying the public’s trust in such an egregious fashion.’
Carter will not be sentenced until Aug. 29, where he could face up to six years in prison.