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(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Stephen McCaughey, defense lawyer for Roberto Román, put his client on the stand to testify that Román's drug buddy, Ryan Greathouse, shot his own sister, Millard County Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox. One juror said Roman "did a phenomenal job" as a witness.
Jury: Roman ‘not guilty’ in Millard County deputy killing
Courts » After 8 hours of deliberation, jury finds man not guilty of murder but convicts him on other counts.
First Published Aug 18 2012 12:08 am • Last Updated Nov 30 2012 11:32 pm

Spanish Fork • Following a weeklong trial and eight hours of deliberation, a jury late Friday night acquitted Roberto Miramontes Román of the 2010 slaying of Millard County Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox.

A jury of six men and four women found Román, 40, not guilty of first-degree felony aggravated murder, but convicted him of felony counts of evidence tampering and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon.

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Román will be sentenced on the two lesser counts Oct. 10 by 4th District Court Judge Donald Eyre.

Román on Thursday took the witness stand to claim that the deputy’s own brother, Ryan Greathouse — who was allegedly involved in a drug deal just minutes before the fatal shooting — had pulled the trigger of the AK-47 that killed Fox.

Juror Nicole Kay told The Tribune there was "an absence of evidence about Ryan Greathouse — at all. We could not rule out the possibility that that story [told by Román] could be true."

Asked what jury deliberations were like, Kay replied: "Have you ever seen "12 Angry Men?" After a certain amount of deliberation, certain doubts came forward. We just had more and more doubts."

Doug Fox, the husband of Josie Fox, blamed the verdict on the judge, saying he had kept critical evidence from the jury.

Referring to Román’s alleged confession to police, Doug Fox said: "He admitted he done it. That flat-ass tells you that he’s guilty."

Defense attorney Stephen McCaughey said, "I think Román’s testimony was what this case was all about. [Jurors] looked at that and all the other evidence and came to the conclusion that they did."

Millard County prosecutor Patrick Finlinson declined to comment.

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Earlier Friday during closing arguments, Finlinson had worked to pick apart Román’s version of how Fox died.

The deputy and detective who drove to Ryan Greathouse’s home in Leamington after the Jan. 5 shooting said the man did not appear to have been crying, as Román testified Thursday. Deputies also questioned whether Román could have made the 22.8-mile drive from the shooting scene to Leamington in the nine or 10 minutes he said it took.

Finlinson blasted Román’s story, calling it "insult to injury" and a "convenient" tale that prosecutors heard for the first time Thursday.

"Blame the dead guy," he said of Greathouse, who died in April 2010 of a drug overdose. "Blame the guy who can’t defend himself. Blame the guy who can’t respond."

"Ryan Greathouse did not kill his sister," Finlinson added.

The prosecutor added that Román’s account, which contradicts a confession he gave police a day after Fox’s death, does not fit with the evidence in the case.

"All of the credible evidence in this case, all the believable evidence, points to the inescapable fact that this defendant killed Josie Greathouse Fox and then ran away," Finlinson said.

But McCaughey told the jury: "The decision you must make is important. Here you can send a man to prison for the rest of his life."

The defense attorney said prosecutors had failed to present enough evidence for a conviction beyond Román’s original confession to police, which Román said he gave because he feared for his children at the hands of Greathouse.

"[Román] knew what [Greathouse] could do," McCaughey said.

Outside the courtroom, Mike Román said he’s glad his brother’s story is out now. "He’s been telling us all along he never done it."

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