More than twenty years after the cold blooded murder of peaceful Buddhist monks shocked the region, the case against Johnathan A. Doody is put to rest once again.
Old wounds were reopened in 2011, when an appeals court threw out Doody’s prior conviction on a technicality: Investigators had gotten a confession in an inappropriate manner.
If Arizona prosecutors wanted to keep Doody behind bars, they would have to re-tackle the decades old case.
It would prove to be a difficult three year period, complete with hung juries and multiple mistrials.
This isn’t too surprising. With nearly twenty years having passed, evidence in the case had long gone stale and witness testimony was unlikely to be as fresh as it was in the early 1990’s.
One witness testimony in particular was of the utmost importance to the state’s efforts to bring full closure to the case, Allesandro “Alex” Garcia, who was 17 years old when the murders occurred, had been the second party to the robberies and was present when the murders occurred.
He has maintained that it was Doody who was solely responsible for the murders of the six monks, two nuns, and two temple aids. Garcia had agreed to be a witness in the case against Doody in order to avoid the death penalty. He was 17 at the time of the killings and said that the execution-style killings were all the work of Doody.
Garcia also testified that the robbery that led to their deaths was originally Doody’s idea. The two teens were to steal over $2,600 in valuables from the temple monks. His mother and brother were members of the temple, but not present when the robbery and murders took place.
Garcia said that he tried to convince him to not kill anyone after their robbery. Doody would not listen, determined that there should be no witnesses to the crime.
Police later found the missing valuables in Garcia’s residence, where Doody was also staying.
This latest retrial of Doody ended in January with a jury re-convicting him of the nine murders. This past Friday Judge Joseph Kreamer sentenced Doody to 249 years. It is highly unlikely that he will live 175 years into his sentence, which is when he becomes eligible for parole.
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