Judge refuses to change venue of trial for officer charged with killing Boulder elk

BOULDER - The former Boulder police officer who has pleaded not guilty to killing an elk in Boulder was denied a change of venue for his trial.

Sam Carter is accused of firing the shot that killed the elk -- nicknamed "Big Boy" by residents -- on Mapleton Hill on New Year's Day. He faces several felonies and the trial is scheduled for October.

During the hearing Wednesday, Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner testified. He said that the department was inundated with more than 15,000 concerned messages about the killing of the elk from around the world.

"We are an agency of public trust. I think it's in the best interest of any police department to be forthcoming and transparent," Beckner said on the stand.

Carter's attorneys argued that the pool of potential local jurors was tainted because Beckner decided to respond by releasing findings from the internal affairs investigation into the case.

The judge disagreed and refused to move the venue of the case. The trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 15, according to District Attorney's spokeswoman Catherine Olguin.

The other former officer involved in the case, Brent Curnow, agreed to a plea deal Tuesday. He was accused of talking to Carter about killing the elk, helping to remove the elk's carcass and process the meat.

Curnow was sentenced to one year probation and 60 days of house arrest.