BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4/AP) — A former police officer who shot and killed an elk while on duty is going on trial in Boulder.
Sam Carter, 37, says he shot the animal because it was injured but investigators say there was no sign that it was hurt before it was killed.
Lawyers began selecting jurors Tuesday. They will determine whether the killing on New Year’s Day 2013 was criminal.
District Attorney Stan Garnett is the lead prosecutor in the case where Carter faces four felony charges in addition to several misdemeanors and could go to prison if convicted.
Another police officer who helped Carter, Brent Curnow, pleaded guilty to one felony and four misdemeanor charges and was sentenced in September to one year of probation and two months of house arrest.
Garnett will make the case Carter plotted to kill the elk, hunting it down while on duty, and with the help of Curnow, hauling the carcass away as a trophy and then attempting to cover it up.
Carter’s attorney will likely argue the elk had been causing trouble in the neighborhood.
Garnett says Carter was also accused of attempting to kill a deer while on duty in 2008.
Carter faces two to six years in prison if convicted on the felony charge of attempting to influence a public official.
The trial is expected to last eight days. Carter asked to move the case to a different county, saying pretrial publicity would taint the jury pool, but the judge denied the motion.
Opening arguments are expected Wednesday.
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