On Wednesday, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett said prosecutors were waiting to decide on charges in the Mapleton elk shooting until they received the texts between Boulder police officers Sam Carter and Brent Curnow. As it turns out, they were worth waiting for.
According to investigators, the texts between Carter, Curnow and a Boulder County sheriff Deputy Jeff George showed that the shooting and disposing of the elk Jan. 1 was a premeditated hunt for a trophy kill.
The arrest affidavits for Carter and Curnow -- who were booked Friday on suspicion of nine different charges -- stated while analyzing the cell phone interaction between the two, investigators, "discovered several messages indicating that the killing of
the elk was planned and personal gain of meat and trophy."
Carter told police he encountered the buck while on patrol that night, but at 2:56 a.m. -- almost 20 hours before the shooting -- Carter texted "Found wapiti (elk) you up," followed by a text of "Should I go hunting," at 4:14 a.m.
At 5:56 a.m. Carter texts George with the location of the elk, followed by George texting, "Did you shoot him?" to which Carter replies, "Nope."
At 2:45 p.m., Curnow texted, "You should have killed it," to Carter, who responded, "Oh he's dead tonight. His right side is broke off at main beam. And he looks a little smaller. He may not be wapiti, but he's gonna die."
By 10:43, Carter texts George that he had found the elk near Ninth Street and Mapleton Avenue and asks him to head to the scene.
Carter then tells Curnow at 11:44 that he found the elk. Curnow texts Carter back telling him to, "Get him," but Carter says "Too many people right now."
But at 11:55 p.m., just after Curnow asks Carter, "When you think you can wack it," Carter texts back, "Elk down."
In addition to the shooting, Carter and Curnow also discussed what to do with the meat. Just before the shooting at 11:54 p.m., Curnow asks Carter,
"You gonna be able to help butcher it? Or are you gonna go home sick?" Carter responds, "I can butcher."
Boulder police said Curnow was supposed to be on duty that night but had called in sick. According to the arrest affidavit, Carter called in sick immediately after clearing the scene after the shooting.
All of the texts and calls from that night had been deleted on Carter and Curnow's phones when they were seized for evidence, but investigators were able to obtain them from their respective cell phone carriers.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ___