SALT LAKE CITY — Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy Jose Greathouse Fox was shot and killed January 5, 2010. Shock and anger greeted the acquittal of suspect Roberto Miramontes Roman two and a half years later but Thursday, a federal grand jury handed down an 11 count indictment against Roman.
It accuses him of a slew of crimes surrounding the Deputy’s death including a charge which carries a life sentence. The charge however isn’t murder. Still, being indicted after an acquittal some may ask isn’t that double jeopardy? The answer is no.
“The potential maximum for convection on this charge is life in prison,” said David B. Barlow, the U.S. Attorney of Utah.
The feds have charged Roman with “intentionally killed a law enforcement officer” along with drug trafficking and gun violations.
“There are a lot of people that say he got away with murder and I think this is the federal government’s response to that,” said Greg Skordas who is a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. “I think a lot of people will struggle with the notion that this looks like double jeopardy: he was prosecuted for murder in the state court and he was acquitted the federal government has now come in and charged him with a separate crime.”
Some thought the state’s case against the suspect was a slam dunk, but Roman had always maintained his innocence, saying it was Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy Fox’s brother who pulled the trigger, a brother who died of a drug overdose in April 2010, just months after his sister was shot and killed.
“The state jury did what they felt like was right at that particular time and it’s not my job to attack what they did or didn’t do, I just won’t go there,” Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said.
“Grand jury proceedings are secret so I’m not at liberty to talk to you about the specific evidence that was provided to the grand jury today,” said Barlow.
Skordas says while we don’t know much about how the feds plan on prosecuting Roman successfully he says, “I think the victim’s family must have some sense of relief now some sense now in their mind’s at least there’s justice for this law enforcement officer.”
Fox 13 was not able to reach the victim’s family for comment. Meantime, no trial date has been scheduled.