The two former Boulder police officers accused of planning the shooting and disposal of a trophy elk on Mapleton Hill on New Year's Day are set for an arraignment in the case on May 31.

Judge Noel Blum set the case over to Boulder District Court at a status conference Thursday morning for Sam Carter, 35, and Brent Curnow, 39.

At the hearing, attorneys for both men requested the arraignment be set out at least six weeks so they could review evidence as well as conduct their own investigations. Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, who is prosecuting the case himself, did not object to the arraignment date.

"This is a case that really needs to be investigated on both sides," said Patrick Mulligan, Curnow's attorney. "The prosecution, for the most part, has conducted their investigation. Now the defense at this juncture has to conduct its investigation."

Marc Colin, Carter's attorney, also said he planned to use the time to go through evidence and prepare any necessary motions.

"There really hasn't been much happening yet," he said. "We've spent most of that time trying to get a handle on the facts and the evidence in the case."

At the arraignment, Carter and Curnow can either enter a plea of not guilty and ask that a trial date be scheduled or take a plea deal, if one is offered by prosecutors. The arraignment also could be set back if both sides feel more negotiations could result in plea agreement.

Carter and Curnow each are charged with two counts of tampering with physical evidence, a Class 6 felony, one count of forgery, a Class 5 felony, and one count of attempting to influence a public official, a Class 4 felony.

They also face misdemeanor counts of first-degree official misconduct, illegal possession of a trophy elk with a Samson Law surcharge, conspiracy to commit illegal possession of wildlife, unlawfully taking of a big game animal out of season, and unlawful use of an electronic communication device to unlawfully take wildlife.

According to an arrest affidavit, Carter -- while on duty -- shot and killed the elk near Mapleton Avenue and Ninth Street on Jan. 1. Curnow -- who was scheduled to be on duty but had called in sick that day -- then arrived in his pickup truck to haul away the carcass.

While Carter told police he shot the elk because he saw it was injured, a necropsy revealed no evidence of a prior injury to the elk, and dispatch records show Carter did not report the shooting.

Text-messaging records also show conversations about killing the elk between Carter and Curnow almost 20 hours before the shooting.

Carter and Curnow resigned after an internal investigation was launched by the Boulder Police Department.

Both men are free on $20,000 personal recognizance bonds.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or byarsm@dailycamera.com.