Lead Detective In Trailside Shooting Case Steps Down

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After a series of meetings behind closed doors between the Coconino County Attorney's office and the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, the detective in charge of the investigation into the shooting death of a Payson man voluntarily resigned from the case.

A grand jury will not hear the evidence until July 15.

"The sheriff's office and the county attorney's office have an ongoing responsibility to the public we serve," Sheriff's Det. Scott Feagan said. "Our cooperation is essential to public safety. I voluntarily removed myself from the case to help preserve the relationship between our two agencies."

Feagan was criticized by Coconino County Attorney Terry Hance for statements to the press that the May 11 shooting appeared to be a situation of self defense.

Harold Fish, 57, Glendale, was finishing a 10-mile hike north of Payson when he encountered Payson Humane Society volunteer Grant Kuenzli and three dogs at a remote trailhead.

Fish told deputies that he was under attack by the dogs and subsequently shot Kuenzli to death.

Feagan said physical evidence at the scene corroborated Fish's account of what happened and the totality of the circumstances pointed to self defense.

Following an onslaught of criticism from the public and Kuenzli's friends and family, Hance called Feagan's conclusion "terribly premature."

Hance told the Roundup that he had received more calls, letters and e-mails on the case than any similar case he could remember.

After examining the sheriff's reports on the incident, Hance announced he would recommend a charge of second-degree murder for Fish.

A grand jury is scheduled to hear the evidence July 15 and decide if the retired school teacher and father of seven should be indicted and face a possible prison term.

Coconino County Sheriff Joe Richards said all the work Feagan has done will be used at trial and he will testify about the investigation.

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