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McEntee: Slain deputy's kin still looking for justice

Published October 24, 2012 6:14 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Spanish Fork • In the middle of a sentencing hearing for the man acquitted of killing Millard County sheriff's Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox, her teen daughter rose to speak.

"We have to suffer for the rest of our lives with the fact we lost two family members," said Hunter Winn, speaking of her mother and her uncle, Ryan Greathouse. "It's torn each and every one of us apart. We were beaten down to nothing, and we had to bring ourselves up.

"She was someone every woman should look up to," she said. "Why should he get off?"

Hunter, a tall brunette like her mother, might have been speaking for all of us who mourned the loss of Josie Fox, a woman who'd had her own troubles, but straightened up and ultimately became a cop beloved in Delta and the rest of Millard County.

On Wednesday, Fox's family and friends, and those of the defendant, Roberto Miramontes Román, filled the gallery in Spanish Fork's 4th District Court. All were quietly intent on learning what prison sentence he would get for two lesser charges associated with Fox's death.

In August, a jury acquitted Román of aggravated murder after hearing him blame Ryan Greathouse from the witness stand for his sister's death. Greathouse was found dead in Las Vegas a few months after the deadly shooting.

Fox had stopped Román near Delta in the early morning on Jan. 5, 2010, when she was shot and killed with an AK-47 assault rifle. Román was convicted of third-degree felony charges of evidence tampering and illegal possession of a dangerous weapon, each with a penalty of five years in prison.

Before Judge Donald Eyre sentenced Román, Fox's husband, Douglas Fox, red-faced with anger and pain, also spoke.

"It's horrible, the outcome of this," he said. "Hopefully, down the line, he'll get his just deserts.

"I don't understand law … but it's not right," Fox said. "I can't make anybody answer for their decisions. But if you have a decision to make, I hope you make the right ones."

Assistant Utah Attorney General Pat Nolan described Román's past convictions and imprisonment for trafficking in drugs and guns. He was deported to his native Mexico, Nolan said, but "came right back to the U.S. and trafficked in drugs and guns."

Eyre ordered Román to serve the two five-year prison sentences consecutively, meaning he could remain in prison for 10 years.

"Given the pain and anguish you've caused to friends and family," he said, "my only concern is that I can't give you more time."

Then he added, "The thing that drives me, Mr. Román … you got away with murder."

In September, Fox's father, Russell Greathouse, wrote a searing condemnation of the judge and the jury's decision to acquit Román. Greathouse was fuming that Román had blamed his son.

"It was among the most sinister lies ever told," he wrote in the statement, published in The Tribune. "Rob Román set a new standard for cruelty and depravity, which for some reason was good enough for this judge and jury."

But as he walked out of court, Russell Greathouse, smiled slightly and said, "The judge said it, didn't he? He was guilty of murder."

Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at pegmcentee@sltrib.com, and Twitter: @pegmcentee.