Fish Loses Self-Defense Appellate Decision

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By Larry Hendricks

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Harold Fish

Arizona Daily Sun Staff Reporter

State appellate court judges declined to rule Thursday on whether a new law that makes it easier for people to claim self defense can be used in the murder trial of Harold Fish.

Therefore, the trial court judge's ruling that the new law cannot be used stands.

Fish's attorneys have filed for a stay of Fish's trial with the state supreme court in order for the justices to review the matter before closing arguments begin Monday in Flagstaff.

Fish is accused of second-degree murder in connection with the May 11, 2004, shooting death of Grant Kuenzli at a trailhead near Pine. Fish has said he shot Kuenzli in self defense and pleaded innocent to the charge.

Fish's attorneys filed a motion to have the appellate court stop the trial after the trial judge ruled that the new self-defense law, put into effect in the middle of Fish's trial, does not apply in Fish's case.

In a 2-to-1 decision, the appellate court judges ordered the trial to be put on hold three weeks ago after all evidence had been presented to the jury. That point in a trial is before attorneys make closing arguments and the jury is instructed as to the laws that will govern their deliberations.

The defense requested the trial be put on hold until the appellate court.

See related story:

Defense rests, Fish doesn't take stand in murder trial (May 26)

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