UPDATE: Wis. Man Gets 11 Years in Deer-Killing Case

UPDATE Tuesday, November 29, 2011 --- 3:11 p.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- A judge has sentenced a rural Weyauwega man to 11 years in prison for running down and killing deer with a snowmobile.

But 27-year-old Rory Kuenzi will serve the sentence concurrently with the 23 years he already is serving for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk.

The Post-Crescent reports Kuenzi pleaded no contest Tuesday in Waupaca County Court to three counts of felony animal mistreatment in the 2009 incident.

He also pleaded no contest to two forfeiture offenses for possessing deer carcasses during a closed season.

Last November, a jury found Kuenzi guilty of homicide by drunken driving and hit-and-run in the 2004 death of Kevin McCoy.

Kuenzi, his brother, Robby Kuenzi of Weyauwega, and Nicholas Hermes of Waupaca were each charged in the deer deaths.

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Updated Wednesday, July 15, 2009 --- 12:40 p.m.

MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice will be seeking appellate review of two decisions recently entered in Waupaca County Circuit Court.

Robby and Rory Kuenzi were charged with multiple counts of felony animal mistreatment stemming from allegedly corralling and running down deer while riding snowmobiles in the town of Lind.

Waupaca County Circuit Court Judge Kirk and Judge Hoffman dismissed the animal mistreatment charges against the brothers, concluding that because the District Attorney's Office had also charged the defendants with hunting violations, the statutes precluded prosecution for animal mistreatment.

Van Hollen stated, "We intend to pursue an appeal of the judges' decisions because we believe the court erred in its interpretation of the relevant statutes." Because this case is in a pretrial posture, the defendants are presumed innocent.

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UPDATED Thursday, April 23, 2009 --- 12:17 p.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- The last of three of three Weyauwega men accused of running down and killing deer with snowmobiles has pleaded not guilty to five felonies.

Online court records say 23-year-old Nicholas Hermes is to return to Waupaca County Circuit Court on June 12 after entering the pleas on Tuesday.

He is charged with five counts of felony mistreatment of animals resulting in death.

Four deer were found dead along a snowmobile trail south of Waupaca on Jan. 10, and a fifth had to be euthanized in an incident that state game warders have characterized as thrill killings.

Twenty-four-year-old Rory Kuenzi and his 23-year-old brother Robby Kuenzi earlier pleaded not guilty to similar charges.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 25, 2009 --- 8:25 a.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- A prosecutor in Waupaca County wants to consolidate the trials of three men accused of using their snowmobiles to kill some deer for the thrill of it.

Robby and Rory Kuenzi and Nicholas Hermes are accused of rounding up the deer with their sleds, then running them down Jan. 9 in the Town of Lind.

The Kuenzi brothers have pleaded not guilty. Hermes has not yet entered pleas for the felony charges against him.

The attorney for Rory Kuenzi, of Weyauwega, told Waupaca County Judge Philip Kirk Tuesday that he plans to file a motion seeking a change of venue because of publicity about the case.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 11, 2009 --- 7:40 a.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- One of the men accused in the Waupaca County deer-slaughter case now faces additional charges related to hunting violations.

Twenty-four-year-old Rory Kuenzi was charged Tuesday with six counts of taking a deer during the closed season.

He's also accused of possessing wild game during a closed season and resisting a conservation warden.

Kuenzi already faces six counts of felony mistreatment of animals. Those charges stem from a January incident in which he and two others allegedly ran down and killed several deer with their snowmobiles.

One co-defendant also had charges of taking deer during the closed season added to his own charges. Prosecutors say they plan to do the same with the third co-defendant.

Kuenzi's attorney didn't immediately return a message Tuesday evening.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 --- 2:31 p.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- One of two brothers accused of running down and killing deer with snowmobiles has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges.

Twenty-three-year-old Robby Kuenzi of Weyauwega entered the pleas during an appearance in Waupaca County Circuit Court on Tuesday. His brother, Rory Kuenzi, pleaded not guilty earlier to similar charges of mistreatment of animals resulting in death. A third man charged in the incident, Nicholas Hermes of Weyauwega, has not yet entered a plea.

Four deer were found dead Jan. 10 near a snowmobile trail about five miles south of Waupaca. A fifth deer was severely injured and euthanized.

Game wardens have described the animals' deaths as unprecedented thrill killings of wildlife.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Monday, March 2, 2009 --- 11:55 a.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- The third of three men accused of running down and killing deer with snowmobiles has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Waupaca County Circuit Judge Philip Kirk on Monday did not immediately set a date for 23-year-old Nicholas Hermes of Weyauwega to enter pleas to five felony counts of mistreatment of animals resulting in death.

Brothers Rory and Robby Kuenzi, also of Weyauwega, are also charged in the incident. A court official says Robby Kuenzi is to enter pleas to the charges Tuesday. His brother has pleaded not guilty.

Four deer were found dead Jan. 10 near a snowmobile trail about five miles south of Waupaca. A fifth deer was severely injured and euthanized. Game wardens have described the incident as unprecedented thrill killings with snowmobiles.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, February 3, 2009 --- 4:55 p.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- A judge says one of three men accused of running down and killing deer with their snowmobiles has been a target of several threats, and jail is probably the safest place for him.

Waupaca County Circuit Judge Phil Kirk commented Tuesday when he denied a request to lower 24-year-old Rory Kuenzi's $25,000 cash bail.

Kuenzi has pleaded not guilty to six felony counts of mistreatment of animals and one felony count of vehicle theft.

Four deer were found dead along a snowmobile trail south of Waupaca Jan. 10 and a fifth was so badly injured it had to be euthanized. Kuenzi, of Weyauwega, told investigators he also killed a sixth deer on his way home from the first killing field and butchered it.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Saturday, January 17, 2009 --- 11:30 a.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) — A man accused of running over and killing deer with his snowmobile along with two others is a suspect in a hit-and-run pedestrian fatality.

Rory Kuenzi, 24, his brother Robby Kuenzi, 23, Nicholas D. Hermes, 22, face multiple felonies related to the Jan. 9 killing of four adult deer and a fawn.

Prosecutors say the three Weyauwega residents chased the animals down with snowmobiles.

But court records allege Rory Kuenzi is a suspect in the 2004 death of Kevin McCoy, who was struck by a vehicle while walking home from a party in Farmington.

Waupaca County District Attorney John Snider says the investigation has been set back by a bungled reconstruction effort. The case was later sent to the State Patrol for a reconstruction report, and there it remains.

Information from:
The Post-Crescent, http://www.postcrescent.com

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, January 16, 2009 --- 2:35 p.m.

WEYAUWEGA, Wis. (AP) -- Two Weyauwega brothers accused of running over and killing deer with their snowmobiles have been charged with animal cruelty.

Twenty-three-year-old Robby Kuenzi was charged Friday in Waupaca County Circuit Court with five counts of being party to mistreatment of animals.

His older brother, 24-year-old Rory Kuenzi, was charged with six counts of mistreatment of animals and one count of felony vehicle theft.

Wildlife officials have characterized last Friday's incident south of Waupaca as an unprecedented thrill killing.

Online court records say the brothers made initial court appearances Friday and cash bonds were set.

A third man, 22-year-old Nicholas Hermes of Weyauwega, was charged in the case Thursday.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, January 16, 2009 --- 8:00 a.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- Three Weyauwega men accused of corralling and running over deer have been arrested in what a state official described today as an unprecedented thrill killing.

Waupaca County Sheriff Brad Hardel says more people could be charged.

Twenty-two-year-old Nicholas Hermes was charged today with five felony counts of being a party to mistreatment of animals. The sheriff says two brothers, 23-year-old Robby Kuenzi and 24-year-old Rory Kuenzi, have been arrested but not yet formally charged because the paperwork isn't done. He says the brothers could be charged tomorrow.

Four deer were found dead Saturday near a snowmobile trail about five miles south of Waupaca where a herd of around 40 deer were known to gather. A fifth deer was severely injured and euthanized.

Judge Raymond Huber set a signature bond of $15,000 for Hermes during his initial appearance in Waupaca County Circuit Court. The maximum punishment for each charge is 3 1/2 years in prison.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, January 15, 2009 --- 4:55 p.m.

From WSAW-TV, NBC15's sister station in Wausau:

A Weyauwega man is free on a $15,000 signature bond, after being charged with five counts of animal mistreatment.

Nicholas Hermes appeared in Waupaca County Court Thursday after being arrested in connection to the slaughter of deer near a snowmobile trail last weekend.

As part of his bond, Hermes is not allowed to use a snowmobile.

If convicted, Hermes faces up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Two other men, Robby and Rory Kuenzi were also arrested in connection to the incident.

They are expected to make appearances Friday in Waupaca County Court.

Five deer were found dead Saturday on a snowmobile trail near rural Waupaca.

They apparently had been run over in what authorities called a "thrill killing" by snowmobilers.

Several local snowmobile clubs and Crime Stoppers offered up to $10,000 in reward money for information on the arrest and conviction of those involved.

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UPDATED Thursday, January 15, 2009 --- 5:20 a.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) — Authorities plan to give an update Thursday on their investigation into the killing of several deer when snowmobilers herded and ran over them last weekend in Waupaca County.

Four deer were killed and another had to be euthanized after the incident believed to have happened Friday night in a field along a snowmobile trail south of Waupaca.

A reward fund for information leading to those responsible has grown to more than $10,000, most of it offered by snowmobile clubs.

Waupaca County Sheriff Brad Hardel and wardens with the state Department of Natural Resources scheduled a news conference Thursday afternoon to provide an update on the investigation.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, January 13, 2009 --- 2:55 p.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- A Waupaca County Sheriff's detective says the herding and killing of some deer by a group of snowmobiles may have occurred much earlier than first thought.

Capt. Don Conat said Tuesday that some snowmobilers are reporting that they saw an injured deer lying along the trail about five miles south of Waupaca about 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

A state Department of Natural Resources warden on Monday said investigators believed the carnage occurred between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Saturday. Some witnesses reported hearing snowmobiles in the area about 3:30 a.m.

Five deer died in what Conat calls a "thrill killing" of deer by running over them with snowmobiles.

Conat says snowmobile clubs have offered a combined $9,000 in rewards for information leading to arrests. Waupaca County Crime Stoppers has offered another $1,000.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted Monday, January 12, 2009 --- 11:05 a.m.

WAUPACA, Wis. (AP) -- State wildlife officials say a group of snowmobilers ran over five deer, killing four of them and severely injuring a fifth in what a warden calls a senseless act of cruelty.

Department of Natural Resources warden Ted Dremel said Monday no arrests have been made in the incident that occurred early Saturday morning about five miles south of Waupaca.

Dremel believes three or four snowmobiles were involved in what amounted to a roundup of deer in a farm field. Dremel says one deer was left tied to a tree and choked itself to death. Another deer had broken legs and was euthanized.

Dremel says five miles of snowmobile trails in area have been closed due to the carnage. Some snowmobile clubs have offered $4,000 in rewards for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


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