PHOENIX — Documents related to the investigation of a 2010 killing of a
rancher along the U.S.-Mexico border must be released under Arizona’s public
records law, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Authorities say Robert Krentz was gunned down on his property near Douglas.
Investigators initially said they believed that a scout for drug smugglers was
to blame for his killing, but the case remains unsolved. The killing prompted
renewed calls in Washington for increased border security amid speculation that
the death was somehow tied to smugglers.
Krentz’s wife, Susan, had sought to block the release of the case file as
authorities continue to investigate, claiming her privacy interest outweighed
the public’s right to access under Arizona public records laws.
Cochise County Superior Court Judge Charles Irwin heard arguments Tuesday from
attorneys representing The Arizona Republic and the Arizona Daily Star. The
judge then ruled against Krentz’s efforts to block authorities from releasing
“The law recognizes the importance of public transparency and public access to
law enforcement records, especially in a case like this one,” said attorney
David Bodney, who represented the Republic.
“This crime happened nearly three years ago and remains unsolved,” Bodney
added. “By allowing access to those records, we enhance the public’s ability to
monitor the activities of law enforcement and contribute information to
Susan Krentz declined to comment Tuesday. Her attorney didn’t return a
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels has said the Krentz case remains a top
priority and that his office had developed numerous “persons of interest” who
might have information on the killing. He has declined to discuss the status of
the case in detail.
In a statement Tuesday, Dannels said his office would comply with the judge’s
ruling and publicly release the file.
“There’s obviously the concern of having all this information released and
potentially creating an issue for future contact with any persons of interest
who we wanted to speak to and haven’t been able to so far,” said sheriff’s
office spokeswoman Carol Capas. “But there’s no way to say with certainty what
type of negative impact this will have.”