Newcomers Have Rights Too



In response to, Mr. Otis M. Trimble's letter of Aug. 17. -- Yes, Mr. Trimble, I am a "newcomer"; Grant Kuenzli was a newcomer and I suppose at one time you too, were a newcomer. That sir does not take away our rights to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Grant Kuenzli was 43 years old, a firefighter. Like one of those hotshots, who unselfishly fought the fires that threatened Payson recently. Grant was a volunteer giving his time volunteering for the Payson Humane Society.

Grant had a face, a family and as a newcomer, made more than 300 friends, all of whom signed a petition attesting to Grant's good character. This is the "lynch mob" you made reference to. Nowhere did the petition mention Mr. Fish, the shooter.

Most disturbing to me was the statement made by Sheriff's Det. Scott Feagan, that it was a justified homicide. Det. Feagan represented himself as judge and jury, declaring the executioner was justified in taking Grant's life.

Det. Feagan portrayed Grant as a homeless derelict, living out of his car. (As if that would have made a difference).

Grant Kuenzli did have a permanent address just as you do. Grant's address just happened to be the same as mine.

I wonder if your opinion would have been slightly different, if someone from your household was shot and killed, without a witness. Would you consider it "justified"?

I have no contempt for Mr. Fish (the shooter), like you I feel sorry for him taking the life of a fellow human being. If he has a conscience he will live with it the rest of his life.

What I do have contempt for is Mr. Fish's attorney engaging in an effort to de-humanize Grant and demean Grant's life.

Mr. Fish has shown no remorse for his actions, no apologies to Grant's family for their loss, or to a society that opposes taking the life of a fellow human.

Like you, we can all speculate on what happened on that fateful day in the woods. My viewpoint is contrary to yours. Mine is that Mr. Fish was an excellent marksman to have fired three shots at a moving target and to have struck Grant in the chest in a close cluster.

Coconino County District Attorney, Terry Hance, did not file charges of second-degree murder on Mr. Fish, the Grand Jury did. That's the democratic process.

John McCauley, Payson

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