Judge Philip Kirk will not recuse himself from the animal cruelty case against Rory Kuenzi.
At a hearing Wednesday in Waupaca County Circuit Court, Kirk ruled on a motion by Kuenzi’s attorney, Troy Neilsen, that he recuse himself from the case.
Rory Kuenzi, 27, along with his brother, Robby Kuenzi, 25, Weyauwega, and Nicholas Hermes, 25, Waupaca, were accused of running down and killing five deer with their snowmobiles in the town of Lind in January 2009.
The three men were immediately charged with felony cruelty to animals, but the case was delayed due to appeals.
Rory Kuenzi was also convicted of hit-and-run involving death and homicide by OWI. In January, Kirk sentenced Kuenzi to 23 years in prison on the homicide charges and made comments about Kuenzi’s character, calling him “neanderthal” and a “sociopath.”
In his argument for recusal, Nielsen observed that Kirk also made comments when sentencing Kuenzi regarding the deer killing charges against him.
Atthe sentencing, Kirk read from the Department of Corrections’ pre-sentencing report. Kirk noted that Kuenzi told the investigator that he believed the media blew the deer charges out of proportion. Kuenzi reportedly said that he had used snowmobiles to hunt the deer because, as a convicted felon, he was prohibited from using a gun and he needed to feed his family.
“Your comment is absurd,” Kirk told Kuenzi. “You put something like that on a resume if you’re applying for a job at a village looking for an idiot.”
Kirk said the deer-slaying incident reflected on Kuenzi’s lack of human decency and anti-social personality.
In denying Nielsen’s motion for recusal, Kirk said he was being honest in his remarks and honesty does not constitute bias.
Kuenzi’s case is now set to go before a jury in early December.