DENVER — One of two Boulder police officers accused of planning and executing the fatal shooting of an elk without the property authority or licensing pleaded guilty on Tuesday.
Brent Curnow, who the Boulder District Attorney’s Office has called “less culpable” in this case than fellow officer Sam Carter, appeared in court for a disposition hearing at 1:30 p.m., where he accepted a plea deal.
Carter stands accused of actually shooting the elk, while Curnow stands accused of helping him plan it and cover it up. Both officers resigned from the Boulder Police Department after photos of them with the trophy elk went public.
Curnow’s lawyer told the Daily Camera that Curnow pleaded guilty to one felony count of tampering with physical evidence and four misdemeanor counts in exchange for three other felony counts being dropped.
Curnow is expected to receive a two-year deferred sentence. If he abides by the terms of that sentence, the felony would reportedly be wiped from his record.
The Boulder District Attorney’s Office said it has not extended a similar plea deal to Carter, who is scheduled for a motions hearing on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m.
Investigators say Carter and Curnow killed the elk on January 1 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.
An arrest affidavit stats that Carter shot the elk while on duty, and that Curnow, who had called in sick to work, arrived to haul the animal away in a pickup truck. The duo snapped photos of themselves with the deceased elk, as well.
Carter has insisted he shot the elk because he saw it wounded, though he gave no reason for why he did not report the shooting. And a later a necropsy on the animal provided no evidence of a prior injury.