Governor Vetoes Hope For Harold Fish

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There was a brief moment of hope for Harold Fish last week when a bill that would affect his case crossed Gov. Janet Napolitano's desk. The bill would have made a self-defense law retroactive to his case, but it was vetoed by the governor.

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Harold Fish

The bill would have given Fish a retrial. Instead, he will likely spend the next 10 years of his life in prison for second-degree murder.

Fish, a 59-year-old retired schoolteacher and father of seven, received the mitigated minimum sentence for second-degree murder in August in Coconino County Superior Court in Flagstaff.

Napolitano said allowing the bill to be retroactive to May 2004, when Fish shot 43-year-old Grant Kuenzli to death at a trailhead north of Strawberry, would allow numerous other trials to be heard again.

The new state law, which shifts the burden to the state to prove the use of deadly force was not needed in self-defense, did not apply to the Kuenzli shooting because it occurred before the new law went into effect.

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