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Judge refuses to step down over "honest" comments


WAUPACA, WI (WTAQ) - A judge in Waupaca County says he will not step down from the case of a man accused of killing a half-dozen deer on a stolen snowmobile. Rori Kuenzi’s attorney said Circuit Judge Philip Kirk showed bias with the comments he made in January, when he sentenced Kuenzi for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk after leaving a drinking party. That incident occurred in 2004 – and the state filed charges after Kuenzi made national headlines for the deer-slaughtering case five years later. Judge Kirk said he was “unequivocally honest” when he sentenced Kuenzi to 23 years in the drunk driving death – and Kirk says honesty does not constitute bias in the defendant’s other case. Kuenzi and two other Waupaca County men are charged with animal mistreatment and hunting violations in the deer killings.