Harold Fish

This case is notable due to a retroactive change in the law regarding the burden of proof in self defense cases in Arizona.

On May 11, 2004, 57-year-old Harold Fish, a retired high school teacher, was completing a solo hike in a remote area of the Coconino National Forest near Strawberry, Arizona, when he saw 43-year-old Grant Kuenzli lying on the ground near a car. Fish waved at Kuenzli, whom he did not know, and two unleashed dogs came charging at him.

Fish yelled at Kuenzli to corral the dogs and, when nothing happened, he pulled a 10-millimeter semi-automatic pistol from his backpack and fired a warning shot into the ground. The dogs scattered, but then, according to Fish, Kuenzli himself charged at Fish, threatening to kill him.

Fish fired three shots and killed Kuenzli, a former firefighter who was living out of his car in the forest. Fish covered Kuenzli’s body with a tarp and walked to a highway where he flagged down a motorist who summoned emergency personnel.

Entry at National Registry of Exonerations | News Article on change in law.

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