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Boulder police officer convicted of killing friendly elk

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The magnificent bull elk was so familiar in the Mapleton Hill area in Boulder that residents considered it something of a mascot.

But on New Year's Day in 2013 the elk turned up dead and two police officers were accused of the deed.

The community was outraged. Neighbors said the elk was friendly and had been roaming the neighborhood for some time. Protests were held, including a vigil and a group of people who walked silently through town blowing elk whistles.

Today, one of the officers, Sam Carter, was found guilty by a Boulder County jury of charges that could net him years in prison, the Boulder Daily Camera( reported.

Jurors agreed with the prosecution that Carter plotted to kill the animal and tried to use his badge to cover it up. He was found guilty on all nine counts -- including four felonies -- filed against him after a week-long trial. He is due for sentencing on Aug. 29, the Camera said.

After shooting the elk, prosecutors say Carter called up his friend and fellow former officer Brent Curnow to pick up the elk's carcass and butcher it.

According to the Camera report, Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said: "They had no right to use their standing as police officers to poach this animal and lie about it."

Carter's attorney, Carrie Slinkard, said Carter put down the animal because it was aggressive and dangerous.

Carter and Curnow both resigned from the police department. Curnow earlier accepted a 2-year deferred sentencing plea deal, 60 days home detention and a $10,000 fine, according to CBS Denver( .

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