Jury: Doody guilty of '91 Buddhist Temple massacre

Jonathan Doody

A jury has found Jonathan Doody guilty of the execution-style murders of nine people in a West Valley Buddhist temple in 1991.

It was the third trial for 39-year-old Doody, who entered the courtroom just after 10 a.m. and about 10 minutes before the jury arrived in the courtroom of Maricopa County Superior Court.

The jury's verdict was read just before 10:25 a.m. The jury got the case late in the afternoon of Jan. 13 after closing arguments.

Doody was also found guilty of one count of burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Jurors began deliberating aggravating factors on the lesser charges immediately after the verdicts were read.

Sentencing was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. March 14.

"Today's verdict confirms that the passage of time has not obscured the guilt of this defendant, nor has it diminished our commitment to seek justice for the nine innocent victims whose lives were senselessly taken," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

"We now look forward to the imposition of an appropriate sentence that will hold him accountable for this horrible crime," Montgomery said.

The trial lasted about five weeks and there were 20 counts in all the jurors had to consider.

This jury's average age is younger than the jury that heard the case last year.

The bodies of the temple abbot, five monks, an apprentice monk, a nun and her nephew were found on Aug. 10, 1991. All were of Thai descent.

There were 17 .22-caliber shell casings and four shotgun shells found at the scene. Police investigators were able to determine that the .22-caliber shell casings most likely came from a rifle manufactured by Marlin Firearms. Over the following weeks, police seized dozens of Marlin .22 rifles and performed ballistics tests.

A month after the murders, Maricopa County Sheriff's Officers seized a Marlin .22 rifle from Rolando Caratachea Jr., who had been stopped by Luke Air Force Base police for a traffic violation a few weeks earlier.

The rifle was found in Caratachea's vehicle during the traffic stop, and Doody was a passenger. Ballistics testing by the Department of Public Safety determined Caratachea's rifle was the weapon used to murder the nine victims in the temple, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office said. When questioned by police, Caratachea said he had loaned the rifle to his friends, Alex Garcia and Doody, shortly before the murders.

During closing arguments for this latest trial, prosecutor Jason Kalish told jurors the only thing that makes sense according to the facts and evidence is that two people were responsible for the Temple murders in Waddell west of Phoenix.

He said one of them is Garcia, who is serving a 270-year sentence for the killings. Garcia was the state's star witness who testified that Doody was the one who shot the nine people execution style.

"Every single piece of property that we can identify as coming from the Temple is linked to Jonathan Doody," Kalish told jurors.

Kalish claims there is much more than Garcia's word to prove that Doody was the other person involved in the killings. He said Doody was the one who wanted no witnesses left behind after they robbed the place and that's why the murders took place.

"The truth we are seeking is who is responsible for their deaths," Kalish said.

"This was a planned event," he argued. "This was not heat of the moment."

The defense said that Garcia pointed the finger at Doody when it's more likely that another of Garcia's friends was his accomplice.

Doody's attorney said her client came in contact with a couple of items from the Temple only after Garcia brought them home to the place he and Doody shared.

"There are no prints, no DNA, no hair, no forensic evidence from the Temple that links Jonathan Doody to those murders," defense attorney Maria Schaffer said in her closing argument.

Doody was a teenager when he was found guilty in 1993 in the slayings at the Wat Promkunaram temple. He was sentenced to 281 years in prison. But an appeals court threw out his conviction in 2011, ruling that investigators improperly obtained his confession.

His second trial ended in a mistrial in October after jurors deadlocked.

Doody's third trial began Dec. 4. Closing arguments began Monday morning.

Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News for updates. Follow CBS 5 News reporter Donna Rossi on Twitter @drossiCBS5 for updates inside the courtroom.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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