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Harold Fish to be Freed From Prison After Three-Year Stay for Shooting; No New Trial to be Held

 

A schoolteacher who fatally shot a man while hiking alone in Arizona's high country, becoming the poster boy for self-defense rights, won't face another trial and will soon be freed from prison.

The Payson Roundup reported yesterday that Coconino County Attorney David Rozema decided it wouldn't be worth the time and hassle to retry Harold Fish (pictured).

Two major developments recently broke in Fish's case: He won the right to a retrial in the Arizona Court of Appeals, and Governor Jan Brewer signed a new law this week that makes it tougher for the state to try self-defense cases.

Whether Fish is completely innocent in the shooting -- whether it went down just as he said -- no one will ever know. Fish and victim Grant Kuenzli were the only witnesses, and Kuenzli's dead.

But in a larger sense, it doesn't matter. Fish's case and the new law will make it easier for people to avoid getting thrown in the slammer if they defended themselves -- which would be a bigger injustice, in our humble opinion, than a guilty person going free.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern