Kuenzi found guilty
The jury found Rory Kuenzi guilty on both counts Thursday, Nov. 18.
After four days of testimony and deliberating just under two hours, the jury returned a verdict at 6 p.m.
Kuenzi was convicted of hit-and-run involving death and homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.
In his closing arguments to the jury Thursday, Assistant Attorney General Dennis Krueger said part of the meaning of justice is “speaking for someone who is unable to speak for himself.”
“Speak for Kevin McCoy and say that man hit him and when he hit him he was drunk,” Krueger said, pointing to Kuenzi. “And when he hit him, he threw Kevin into the ditch and left him there.”
Krueger also addressed the issue of Adam Klotzbuecher’s apparent lack of veracity, noting that Klotzbuecher had nothing to gain by admitting to helping Kuenzi carry McCoy’s body into the ditch.
Krueger asked the jury to compare Klotzbuecher’s account of what happened the night McCoy died to the forensic evidence.
He recounted the testimony of State Trooper Mark Andraschko, who matched the injuries on McCoy’s body to the damage on Kuenzi’s truck.
“Kevin’s body was carried on the hood of that truck,” Krueger said. “They clearly knew what they hit.”
He noted that weather reports from Oct. 23, 2004, and an analysis of lighting conditions disproved the claim that fog and rain made visibility poor.
And he reminded them of how debris from the crash site fitted together with damaged parts on Kuenzi’s truck.
“It’s not what Adam Klotzbuecher says, it’s what the physical evidence says,” Krueger said.
Defense counsel Troy Nielsen opened his closing argument by quoting a statement Klotzbuecher made while on the stand: “I am a good liar.”
“The wisest man I ever met told me you can’t change the stripes of a zebra,” Nielsen said, questioning whether Klotzbuecher had really amended his behavior.
“If he really felt compelled to make things right, why did he wait until he was offered immunity?” Nielsen asked.
Nielsen then recounted Klotzbuecher’s litany of lies over the course of the investigation into McCoy’s death. He noted that Klotzbuecher repeatedly changed his story to police.
Nielsen also reminded the jury that Klotzbuecher walked and drove past McCoy’s body several times after the incident.
He doesn’t feel he has done anything wrong,” Nielsen said. “I think that takes a unique person, and not in a good way either.”
Nielsen asked the jury to consider whether Klotzbuecher changed his story because he wanted to come clean or because he was offered immunity from prosecution if he told authorities what they wanted to hear.
In the prosecution’s rebuttal, Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Gabrysiak pointed to the consistencies between the physical evidence and Klotzbuecher’s account. He said Klotzbuecher’s version of events that night matched the details that the experts found.
“Either he’s telling the truth of he’s the best guesser in the world,” Gabrysiak said.