Former Cop Sentenced for Poaching Elk

Boulder Police Officer Sam Carter poses with the elk he shot with his service gun while on duty. (Credit: KCNC)
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A former Boulder, Colorado, police officer convicted of killing a treasured bull elk has been sentenced to four years of probation.

The Daily Camera reports 37-year-old Sam Carter also was ordered Friday to complete 200 hours of community service and serve on a work crew for 30 days. KKTV sister station KCNC says Carter will also have to pay more than $10,000.00 in fines.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to send him to jail for a year, but the judge declined to send Carter back behind bars.

Carter was on duty when he killed the elk known as "Big Boy" on New Year's Day 2013 while it grazed under a crabapple tree.

"There is no rest of reprieve for me. My name and face have been plastered all around the world, social media, local news, paper, talk radio. Because of this attention I'm unable to even go to the grocery store or go to a restaurant without somebody recognizing me," Carter said before his sentencing.

The elk was a fixture in the neighborhood and his killing inspired marches, vigils and plans for a memorial. One man wrote a song about him.

Carter said the animal had been injured and needed to be put down. Prosecutors say text messages showed the shooting was planned.