SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - After seven years, the family of Deputy Josie Fox found justice.
Tuesday afternoon, a federal jury found Roberto Roman guilty on all counts including the murder of the Millard County sheriff deputy.
Roman was acquitted in 2012 in state court. But the U.S. Attorney's office
pursued the case and indicted him two years ago.
"Finally, finally I felt at peace," said Sheriff Robert Dekker of Millard County. "From the time my phone rang that January 5th until now I haven't felt that and I do now."
Deputy Fox's family left the courthouse without commenting but a family member said they were "happy" with the outcome.
Fox was shot twice after she pulled over a car driven by Roman. According to court testimony he pulled out an AK-47 and shot her twice when she approached the vehicle.
Earlier that night, Roman met Fox's brother Ryan Greathouse and completed a drug deal. But Greathouse didn't have enough money to pay for the drugs and Roman kept the AK-47 as collateral.
About a month after Fox was murdered Greathouse was found dead in a Las Vegas motel. Authorities said it was an accidental overdose.
During Roman's first trial he testified on the stand and blamed the murder on Greathouse. He claimed Greathouse was with him that night.
"They (Fox's family) feel so much at peace, so much better, especially Ryan's name has been cleared," said Dekker. "It should never have been brought in but it was and now it's cleared. We know who did commit the crime. We've always known, it just took us this long to prove it."
Roman's brother left the courthouse without commenting. His attorney, Steve McCaughey said the federal government had produced more evidence than in the first trial.
"We weren't surprised on the conviction on the drugs and guns," said McCaughey. "(On) the homicide, they tried it four-and-a-half years ago and there was an acquittal and law enforcement wasn't happy with that and they came back and did it again.
McCaughey took the double jeopardy issue to the U.S. Court of Appeals but it was rejected. The U.S. Supreme court ruled state and federal courts are different jurisdictions and can try a person for the same crime in their respective courts.
"But I think it is double jeopardy," McCaughey said. "But the jury heard the evidence and we'll live with it."
The federal case started after the first acquittal according to Sheriff Dekker. He said they presented the case to the U.S. government in hopes for a different outcome. Prosecutors presented much more evidence than in the state case including a reconstruction scene of the crime based on Roman's testimony in the first trial. Their experts showed the trajectory and bullet casings came from the driver's (Roman) side of the vehicle and not from the passenger's side.
"For seven years we have waited for justice in Utah," said U.S. Attorney John Huber. "The family, the county and all the people of Utah have waited for this day. The jury fulfilled their duty to find the truth in this case and deliver justice today, seven years later of one of our cherished and valued law enforcement officers."
This is not a death penalty case and Roman will return to court April 27 for sentencing.
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