Roberto Miramontes Roman — acquitted in state court of aggravated murder — has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of intentionally killing a Millard County Sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop made as part of a drug investigation.
Roman, 41, entered not guilty pleas to 11 charges in federal court Monday related to the various crimes leading up to and related to the shooting of 37-year-old Josie Greathouse Fox in January 2010. Those charges include one count of killing a law enforcement officer while fleeing apprehension on a felony drug violation, one count of using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence (killing Fox), three counts of distribution of methamphetamine, three counts of possession of a firearm while drug trafficking, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and two counts related to immigration violations.
Also Monday, a one-week jury trial was set to begin on Nov. 25.
David Barlow, U.S. Attorney for Utah, said after a grand jury indicted Roman on Sept. 5 that the federal charges are not a do-over of the district court case, but the indictment was instead an indication that federal interests were not resolved in state court proceedings against Roman.
"The state government and federal government are always free to pursue their own prosecutions," Barlow aid.
Roman allegedly confessed to police to killing Fox after she pulled over his vehicle around 1 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2010. He later recanted and, during a state court trial in August 2012, Roman took the witness stand and claimed another man — the deputy’s brother — shot Fox with an AK-47. Deputies had been tailing the two for several hours as part of a drug investigation.
A 4th District Court jury acquitted Roman of the aggravated murder charge for allegedly killing Fox, but found him guilty of two lesser third-degree felonies — tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm by a restricted person. He was sentenced in October 2012 to two consecutive zero-to-five-year prison terms.
At a parole hearing in February, a hearing officer for the Utah Board of Pardons asked Roman whether he felt he got away with murder and said the subsequent suicide of Fox’s brother Ryan Greathouse prior to trial "gave you a bit of an out at the trial." The board subsequently said Roman will serve out his entire 10-year sentence and be released in 2022.
In federal court, Roman faces a potential life sentence on several of counts if convicted, including the allegation he intentionally killed Fox as she acted in an official capacity. Several of the firearms charges also carry potential penalties of life in prison.
The drug distribution counts each carry a potential maximum penalty of 20 years, but federal prosecutors said they will seek to increase that to 30 years. The immigration violation counts each carry a potential penalty of 20 years in prison; Roman is a citizen of Mexico and was deported from the U.S. in September 2005.
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.