At this time I would like to play a little role reversal to illustrate the fallacy of Fish's actions and the reason Kuenzli's past has nothing to do with Fish's action on that fateful day.
I am a law-abiding citizen; I did have a traffic ticket a year ago. This morning I had breakfast consisting of two eggs, bacon, toast and a cup of coffee. I have two dogs that I love very much and I exercise my dogs off leash quite often in the Sitgreaves National Forest.
Let's pretend that it was me at the top of that trail and I heard my dogs barking. My first thought is that they encountered a wild animal, but then I heard a shot ring out. My first reaction would be to run as fast as my legs would carry me toward my dogs and to stop them from barking.
As I set off at a full run on the first one hundred feet of the gentle downhill trail to find it dog-legged to the left and dropped suddenly to a steep downhill, Mr. Fish would now come into view. I would shout out, "Don't kill my dogs," and in the same instance my feet would come in contact with the loose rocks on the trail.
My legs would begin to wobble, my arms flailing in an attempt to regain my balance. The thought of smashing onto the rocks below would bring a wild look of fear to my eyes.
All of a sudden, I feel a sharp pain in my chest. I reach my hand to my chest and then feel another sharp pain and realized I had been shot.
I landed face first at the bottom of the hill and felt someone turning me over. I looked up unable to speak. I laid there for what seemed to be an eternity. I could see a man standing over me, but I couldn't speak. Then the man lowered a gun close to my chest and fired another shot. That was the last I remembered.
Now, I ask the reader, did what I had for breakfast have anything to do with the reason Fish shot me? Or was it because I got a traffic ticket last year? Any information that Fish did not have prior to killing Grant Kuenzli is immaterial, irrelevant and inadmissible.
My point is, what did Kuenzli's past have to do with Fish's choice to drop his five foot hiking stick and fire his gun at Kuenzli when it would have been a wiser choice to hit him with his hiking stick or use his "Brown Belt" in martial arts, or just put his foot out and trip him. Chances are his injuries would have taken him out of commission.
What we should be examining at this time is Fish's past encounters and his mental capacity.
John J. McCauley, Payson