Judge Philip Kirk ruled Wednesday, Aug. 18, that an out-of-county jury will hear the homicide case against Rory A. Kuenzi, 26, Weyauwega.
Kuenzi was charged in November 2009 with hit-and-run causing death and homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.
He is accused of hitting and killing Kevin McCoy with his pickup truck after leaving a party in Farmington on Oct. 23, 2004. McCoy’s body was found in a ditch along Butts Road, just north of State Highway 54.
At a preliminary hearing in December 2009, a witness, Adam Klotzbuecher, testified that Kuenzi was intoxicated when he left the party in his truck with Walter Engel, 24, Weyauwega, as a passenger. Klotzbuecher said he was in a vehicle following Kuenzi from the party when he heard a thump and saw a shoe come up from Kuenzi’s truck. He said Kuenzi then stopped and got out of his truck.
Klotzbuecher also testified that he helped Kuenzi move McCoy’s body from the road and into a ditch. They then allegedly left McCoy without rendering assistance or calling 911.
Engel was charged with perjury for allegedly making false statements while under oath during a John Doe hearing related to the incident. Engel was also bound over for trial at the December 2009 joint preliminary hearing.
Kirk ruled Aug. 18 that Engel will have a separate trial from Kuenzi.
In granting Kuenzi’s change of venue, Kirk noted the publicity surrounding an animal mistreatment case against Kuenzi.
Kuenzi, his brother Robby and Nicholas Hermes were charged in January 2009 with multiple felony counts of mistreatment of animals. They are accused of running down and killing deer with their snowmobiles.
The animal cruelty case is currently pending in appellate court, where the prosecution is seeking to overturn a circuit court decision to dismiss the felony charges.
Kuenzi’s homicide trial is scheduled to commence Nov. 15, when a jury will be selected. No date has been set for Engel’s trial.