SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – The U.S Attorney will attempt to do what state prosecutors couldn’t.The murder trial of Roberto Roman began Monday. He is federally charged with murdering Millard County sheriff deputy Josie Fox in 2010. Roman was acquitted of state charges three years later creating widespread anger amongst family, Millard County sheriff and even a state judge.
“You got away wither murder,” said Judge Donald Eyre.
Roman was sentenced by Judge Eyre conseutive zero to five years in prison for tampering with evidence and possession of a dangerous weapon.
But the U.S. Attorney indicted Roman on the murder charge plus other charges. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals claimed it was not double jeopardy because the U.S. Supreme Court recognized “dual sovereignty.”
The supreme court ruled two crimes are committed when someone commits a single act violating the laws of separate sovereigns (federal and state).
Roman recently pleaded guilty to federal violations involving aggravated re-entry by an undocumented immigrant and gun possession by an undocumented immigrant.
“(Roman) confesses to the murder,” said prosecutor Diane Hagen.
Hagen told the jury the confession was recorded where he admitted that if he got stopped “he was going to shoot a cop.”
She said Roman saw a person in the mirror after being stopped by Deputy Fox near a remote area near Delta. Hagen said “that’s when he knew he had to shoot her.”
Deputy Fox responded to a call from another officer who observed the vehicle and a pickup truck “possibly making a drug transaction.” Hagen said Fox was asked to stop the vehicle after learning it belonged to someone involved in a previous drug arrest and was wanted for a traffic accident.
“He (Roman) points gun out window and turned away and fires two shots, boom, boom,” said Hagen.
Defense attorney Steve McCaughey asked the jury to rember that Roman is “presumed innocent and he cannot be convicted unless you judge him based by the evidence … beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Roman claimed it was Ryan Greathouse who shot Deputy Fox. Greathouse was Deputy Fox’s brother. McCaughey claimed Greathouse was in the car when Deputy Fox pulled them over.
After the shooting, McCaughey claimed “Ryan told Roberto that if he didn’t leae country, he would kill Roman’s children.”
“Ryan would tell police that he (Roman) shot deputy,” said McCaughey.
McCaughey said Roman was concerned for the safety of his children and attempted to flee to Mexico but was captured in Beaver the following day.
Greathouse died several months later. Authorities said he died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.
The so-called confession was recorded by police investigators. It was played during the state trial. But there were problems with he audio which was not clear. Sounds from a nearby heater made it difficult to listen.
In federal court, prosecutors plan to play the confession again. Prosecutors want jurors to receive a copy of the transcript of the recording which wasn’t provided in the state trial. Roman’s attorney already objected during Monday’s trial. McCaughey didn’t object to the confession played for the jurors. But McCaughey said he did not want a transcript submitted for the jury. Judge David Nuffer made no ruling on it until it is presented in court.