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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The federal trial of a man accused of killing Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Josie Greathouse Fox in January of 2010, began Monday at the U.S. District Courthouse in Salt Lake City.
Kim Thomas | Special to Chronicle Progress
USA vs. Roman Day 5, February 3, 2017, Salt Lake City
First week of federal trial ends for man accused of killing Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Josie Fox.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Roberto Roman took the witness stand Friday in the federal trial in which he stands accused of killing Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Josie Greathouse Fox.
An eleven count indictment accusing him of Deputy Fox’s murder in January of 2010, and other drug and weapons crimes, comes five years after Roman was found not guilty of killing Deputy Fox in a state trial. In that trial, Roman testified that Ryan Greathouse, Deputy Fox’s brother, shot and killed her. Greathouse died of a drug overdose in Las Vegas three months after Deputy Fox was killed.
Roman was found guilty of tampering with evidence and possessing a dangerous weapon in that trial, and is serving two consecutive sentences of zero to five years. He was transported from prison to take the stand Friday.
After being arrested in Beaver less than two days after the killing, Roman confessed to two Utah County Sheriff’s Office detectives in a videotaped interview that he had killed Deputy Fox.
On the stand Friday, and under questioning from defense attorney, Stephen McCaughey, Roman said he was tired and still high on methamphetamine when he was interviewed. Roman said he had a lacerated head and a headache because officers who arrested him had beaten him, even after he was down on the ground. Roman also said he was scared because Greathouse had threatened to kill his children if he didn’t take the blame for killing Deputy Fox.
McCaughey led Roman through the events of late Jan. 5, and early Jan. 6, 2010, starting in a remote area known as McCornick, southeast of Delta. Roman said that after selling 3.5 ounces of meth to Greathouse and smoking some with him and another man, Greathouse said he only had $150 of the $250 he owed Roman for the drugs. Roman testified that he and Greathouse decided to drive together in Roman’s 1995 Cadillac to the nearby towns of Hinckley and Sutherland to get money. There would be enough to pay Roman the remaining $100, and another $400 Greathouse owed him from earlier drug deals.
Greathouse had loaned Roman an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle and ammunition as collateral, until he could come up with the money. The other man, whom Roman said he had never seen and couldn’t remember his name, drove Greathouse’s pickup truck to Greathouse’s home in nearby Leamington, Roman testified. The AK-47, with a loaded “banana clip” was in between Roman and Greathouse in the front seat of the Cadillac, Roman testified.
Roman said that as the two approached the town of Delta, they passed a patrol car parked alongside the side of the road. He said the police vehicle quickly turned around and followed the Cadillac very closely. Roman testified Greathouse crouched down in the passenger seat. His reasoning, according to Roman’s testimony, was that if police saw one person in a car, they would think they are coming or going to work. Two people in a car at that late hour, might indicate to police that they were drinking.
Roman testified that the police vehicle backed off quite a bit, and Greathouse sat back up in his seat. At that moment, Roman said, the patrol car’s flashing lights came on. Roman said he pulled over to the side of the road, and Greathouse crouched down again. As the officer was approaching the car, Roman testified he heard the sound of a bullet being chambered and then a shot. Roman said he heard a woman scream, and then a second shot. Roman testified that Greathouse screamed, and that it appeared he realized he had shot his sister.
Roman testified that he and Greathouse came up with a plan in which Roman would flee to Mexico and that would make investigators think he killed Deputy Fox. Roman testified that he dropped Greathouse off at his Leamington home, on his way to Nephi. Roman testified that before he left, Greathouse told him that whatever happened, to never tell anyone he (Greathouse) had killed the Deputy, with another threat against his family.
McCaughey asked Roman if he killed Deputy Josie Fox, and Roman answered that no he had not.
Federal prosecutor, Felice John Viti, then cross-examined Roman. Viti peppered Roman with a series of questions. “Did you ever tell Jason Corry you had killed Deputy Josie Fox?” “No, never,” Roman answered. “Did you ever tell Jason Corry you were going to blame Ryan Greathouse for Deputy Fox’s Death?” Viti asked. “No, never,” Roman answered. “Did you ever tell Jason Corry that people would believe your story because Ryan Greathouse is dead?” Viti asked. “No, never,” Roman answered again. “Did you ever tell Sarah Hatch that you would do anything to protect yourself, and if you got pulled over, you wouldn’t go to jail?” asked Viti. “No, never,” Roman testified.
In a rebuttal, the government then called three witnesses.
First was Drug Enforcement Agent, Jeff Bryant, who had testified earlier in the week. He’s an expert on illicit drugs. Viti asked him how long the effects of meth last. Bryant said the original “rush” lasts about 30 minutes, and the high can last between eight and fourteen hours.
The next witness called to the stand was Sarah Hatch, who lives in Nephi. She told the court she has been a good friend of Roman’s since she was 14, and still is a good friend. Investigators believe Roman was heading to Hatch’s home in Nephi after Deputy Fox’s death, but Roman decided to go to a cousin’s house in Salt Lake City, because Nephi was too small and too close to Delta. Viti asked her that if on a trip to Salt Lake City with Roman to celebrate New Year’s Day 2010, if Roman had told her he would do whatever it takes to protect himself if stopped by a police officer. Hatch answered that Roman “said he would do what he had to do to not go to jail.”
Finally, prosecutors called a final witness. The witness said that he grew up in Delta and knew both Roman and Deputy Fox. The witness said he has struggled with drug addiction for years, and was in jail with Roman for several months. The witness testified that Roman told him at first he thought he had shot Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Rhett Kimball, who is now retired from the force, instead of Deputy Fox. The witness also testified that Roman told him that since Ryan was dead, “He could make up a b------- story, those were his words,” because Ryan wasn’t there to defend himself.
On cross-examination, McCaughey asked the witness if he had ever worked as a drug informant. The witness said he had. McCaughey asked if the witness had ever asked to have his bail lowered in exchange for being an informant. The witness adamantly said he had never asked that his bail be lowered.
The court then recessed for the weekend. It will resume Monday at 8 a.m. A few more witnesses are expected to be called, and then the government and defense will give their final arguments to the jury. The jury could begin deliberating the case as early as Monday, but more likely on Tuesday, according to attorneys on both sides.
USA vs. Roman Day 4, February 2, 2017, Salt Lake City
Experts recreate crime scene in 2012 death of Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Josie Fox
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Thursday was day 4 of the USA vs. Roman trial in Salt Lake City’s federal court, and jurors heard from scientific experts regarding the Jan. 5, 2010 shooting of Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Josie Fox.
Roberto Miramontes Roman, 44, is facing an 11 count federal indictment, which accuses him of shooting and killing Deputy Fox, as well as drug and firearms crimes. Roman was found not guilty of killing Deputy Fox in a 2012 State trial. Roman testified then that Ryan Greathouse, Deputy Fox’s brother, killed the deputy. Roman said he took the blame because Greathouse had threatened to harm or kill Roman’s family members if he didn’t. Greathouse was not there to defend himself at the 2012 trial. He died of a drug overdose in Las Vegas three months after Deputy Fox was killed. Citing reasonable doubt, the jury found Roman not guilty of the murder.
The first witness called to the stand by federal prosecutors Thursday was Utah Medical Examiner, Dr. Todd Gray. Dr. Gray conducted the autopsy on Deputy Fox and testified that two bullets struck her, and both entered and exited her body. One hit near her badge in the right chest area, the other, near her left collarbone. Bullet fragments were removed from the shoulder area, and the other slug was found inside the back panel of her bullet-resistant vest. Dr. Gray said either wound would’ve quickly been lethal, mostly due to rapid blood loss.
Next, the government called Greg Klees, a firearms examiner for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) who has served as an expert witness in crime scene recreations for many years.
Based on Dr. Gray’s autopsy, Klees created a mannequin of a torso the size of Deputy Fox’s. After pinpointing the entrance and exit wounds, Klees inserted trajectory rods through them, which provided an accurate account of how and where the bullets traveled.
Klees studied a videotaped confession Roman gave to Utah County Sheriff’s Lt. Matt Higley in the Beaver County Sheriff’s office, shortly after Roman and another man were arrested in a tool shed at a Beaver Trailer Park.
In that interview, Roman admitted to shooting Deputy Fox, and demonstrated several times how he positioned an AK-47 rifle, and fired in a rearward direction as the Deputy approached from the driver’s side window.
In recreating the crime scene in Delta, officers who were involved in the original investigation of Deputy Fox’s death, used precise measurements and diagrams to place Deputy Fox’s patrol vehicle and the 1995 gray Cadillac Roman was driving, in the exact spots where they were the night of the murder.
Klees had also noticed two smudge marks on the fabric headliner on the ceiling of the Cadillac. Those had not been noticed during the original investigation, but the car has been stored in a pristine evidence locker since the crime took place. Klees determined the smudge marks were left when two cartridges were ejected from the AK-47 and left grease marks on the headliner, before landing on the back seat.
During the recreation, an officer aimed the AK-47 from the driver’s side. The defense claims Greathouse fired the shots from the passenger side. In the recreation, an officer roughly the same size as Greathouse, 6’2”, aimed the rifle from the passenger side.
Klees made his determination based on all of the evidence, including the bullet trajectory patterns, the location of the smudge marks, how the bullets struck Deputy Fox, as well as photos and reports from the crime scene, and Roman’s demonstrative confession. Klees concluded that the shots were fired from the driver’s seat. Klees said a crouching person in the passenger seat might have been able to land one of the shots. However, Klees said to line up the other shot, the person in the passenger seat would have either shot the driver, or hit the post between the front and back side windows. Klees also testified that if shots were fired so close to the driver there would have been gunshot or gunpowder residue on the driver. None was ever reported.
The jury, judge and attorneys then went to the garage of the courthouse to look at the actual 1995 Cadillac Deville used in the shooting.
The defense then called its own expert witness. Michael Knox is a forensic consultant who owns his own company, and has also supplied expert testimony at numerous trials.
Knox focused on firing angles and the smudge marks on the Cadillac’s ceiling. Evidence shows the original smudge marks were above the driver’s side. He took the Cadillac and the AK-47 to a firing range and fired dozens of rounds, stating that his main goal was to see if, from the passenger’s side, he could fire the weapon out the driver’s side window. He also rotated the rifle in such a way that the casings would hit the ceiling and land in the back seat. Out of 36 shots fired, 13 landed in the back seat. In his final analysis, Knox determined there is too much uncertainty, too many unknowns, to eliminate any possibilities of how the shooting occurred, based on the Klees model.
In cross examination, federal prosecutor, Trina Higgins, asked Knox if he had considered all of the evidence in the case, or just the smudge marks and ejection patterns. Knox said his main task was to study ejection patterns from the AK 47, and whether the spent cartridges could land anywhere. Higgins also pointed out that Knox is eight inches shorter than Greathouse. When he conducted his tests, there was not a driver in the car, whereas the government tests used people roughly the same size as Greathouse and Roman, and had a person in the driver’s seat.
When asked by prosecutor Higgins, Knox said there is nothing in the evidence to show the shooting didn’t happen just as Roman said it did in his videotaped confession from 2010.
Defense attorney, Jeremy Delcino, then asked if any of the evidence would eliminate the possibility that someone in the passenger seat could’ve fired the shots. Knox said that none of the evidence would eliminate that possibility.
With that, the government rested its case. The defense will begin calling witnesses Friday, and one is expected to be Roman.
USA vs. Roman Day 3, February 1, 2017, Salt Lake City, Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - In day 3 of USA vs. Roman at Salt Lake City’s federal courthouse on Wednesday, jurors heard from a friend of the late Ryan Greathouse, Deputy Josie Fox’s brother, and a friend of Roberto Miramontes Roman, who is accused of killing Deputy Fox.
Roman is accused in an eleven count federal indictment of killing Deputy Fox on Jan. 5, 2010. In a 2012 state trial, Roman was found not guilty of killing Deputy Fox. The jury had reasonable doubt to convict Roman after he stunned the 4th District Court in Spanish Fork by claiming Greathouse killed his sister, Deputy Fox. Roman claimed he took the blame for the killing because Greathouse had threatened to hurt or kill his family members if he didn’t. Greathouse died of a drug overdose in Las Vegas three months after Deputy Fox was killed.
The first witness to take the stand Wednesday for the government was Tiffaney Edwards. The Fillmore resident said Ryan Greathouse was her best friend. She told the court she was in prison on a parole violation the night Deputy Fox was killed, but she got out about a week later and had spent a lot of time with Greathouse since her release.
Edwards testified that on the day of a memorial event for Deputy Fox at Delta High School’s Palladium, she was with Greathouse because she had promised his mother she would make sure Greathouse attended the memorial. Edwards testified that on that day, Greathouse had told her “he felt guilty that Josie had passed away because he had traded the gun to Roberto for drugs.” Much of the trial has focused on evidence and testimony that Greathouse had given Roman an AK-47 assault rifle as collateral for methamphetamine Roman had sold him.
Roman’s defense team had tried to keep Edwards’ statement and testimony out of the proceedings, because she admitted Greathouse was “really drunk” when he made the statement. Chief Judge David Nuffer, who is overseeing the trial, ruled that the statement and Edward’s testimony would be allowed. The judge found that the statement and the witness were credible, and that the statement was incriminating to Greathouse, and he felt the circumstances in which Greathouse made the statement made it trustworthy. The judge added that it would be up to the jury to decide.
The prosecution also called Ruben Chavez Reyes to the stand. Reyes is serving prison time in Gunnison for convictions of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence in the original investigation of Deputy Fox’s death.
Reyes testified that early in the morning after Deputy Fox’s death, Roman had called him and said he needed help. Reyes had loaned Roman his 1995 Cadillac, and Roman had driven the car into a snowbank near Nephi. Reyes said Roman wanted a ride to his cousin’s house in Salt Lake City. When Reyes asked why not just come back to Fillmore, he said Roman told him, “I can’t, I just killed a cop.”
Reyes admitted on the stand Wednesday that he had lied about his involvement and knowledge of the crime at least five times in interviews and in court. He said he told federal prosecutors the truth for the first time on Friday, January 27, 2017.
Defense attorney, Jeremy Delicino, cross-examined Reyes, and had him admit on the record he had lied five times. Delcino pointed out that Reyes has an appointment before the Board of Pardons in mid-February, and accused him of changing his story to get a favorable ruling from the Board. Reyes said that wasn’t true and that he already has a release date. Reyes said if his testimony helps him get an earlier release date, that would be fine.
Delcino also referred to recent phone calls Reyes’ girlfriend, Angelina, had made to the prison. He played a short clip of one of the calls in court. In the call, Angelina, appeared to be coaching Reyes on what to say at the trial, in order to get a positive letter from prosecutors to the Parole Board.
Delcino also took exception with Reyes’ claim that Roman told him he had killed a cop. Delcino said Roman was speaking Spanish at the time and said “Se quebraron a un policia.” Directly translated that means “They broke a cop” in Spanish, but is slang for “killed a cop.” Delcino interprets that as meaning more than one person killed a cop. In redirect, a federal prosecutor asked Reyes what Roman said that night by the Cadillac near Nephi, and Reyes responded that Roman meant “He killed a cop.”
Prosecutors also called Utah County Sheriff’s Sargent, Melissa Stout. She had attended the Police Academy with Deputy Fox, and was called to the Medical Examiner’s office to identify the victim, and to put all of the evidence in an evidence locker.
The government also called Jeff Bryant, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency as an expert witness. Bryant testified that he had read text messages between Roman and Greathouse the night Deputy Fox was killed.
The text from Roman said “Yes, there is one 3.5 engine for $250,” and after he gets it from “his guy,” he’d meet Greathouse in McCornick.
Agent Bryant said those are words used in a typical drug deal. He said the 3.5 refers to grams, and engine is a word commonly used to describe meth. Agent Bryant said that in rural Utah in 2010, 3.5 grams of methamphetamine would’ve sold for between $175 and $350.
On Thursday, jurors will be taken to the garage at the federal courthouse to inspect the 1995 gray Cadillac, from which prosecutors say Roman shot Deputy Fox, and the defense says Greathouse shot her. Both sides will also call ballistics experts to testify about bullet trajectory patterns.
Roman is expected to take the stand Friday.
Judge Nuffer said there’s a chance closing arguments could be given on Monday, and the case could go to the jury after that.
USA vs. Roman Day 2, January 31, 2017, Salt Lake City, Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Day 2 of the USA vs. Roman trial at Salt Lake City’s federal courthouse on Tuesday saw federal prosecutors continue to lay out the case that Roberto Miramontes Roman shot and killed Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Josie Fox, in January of 2010.
Roman, 44, faces an 11 count federal indictment, with counts 7 and 8 accusing him of knowingly killing Deputy Fox during the commission of a crime, and in an effort to avoid being caught and a potential prison sentence.
Roman was found not guilty of killing Deputy Fox in a 2012 state trial. Roman stunned the court in Spanish Fork when he testified Ryan Greathouse, Deputy Fox’s brother, killed the deputy. Roman said he agreed to take the blame for the killing and move to Mexico because he said Greathouse was threatening to hurt or kill his family members if he didn’t. Greathouse died of a drug overdose in Las Vegas just over three months after Deputy Fox was killed. The jury found there was enough reasonable doubt to not convict Roman of the murder.
In the 2012 trial, Roman testified he sold methamphetamine to Greathouse around midnight on Jan. 5., 2010 in a remote area known as McCornick, southeast of Delta. Roman testified that “another person, but he can’t remember who” drove Greathouse’s pickup truck to Greathouse’s home in nearby Leamington, while Roman and Greathouse drove to Hinckley so Greathouse could get money he owed Roman.
As he testified Monday, former Millard County Sheriff’s Deputy, Rhett Kimball, was in the McCornick area that night, where several burglaries had taken place recently. Kimball said he saw headlights of a car and a truck as they met side by side on a remote road. Then the car pulled away but the truck stayed behind. Kimball went to check on the truck, and recognized it as belonging to Greathouse. No one was in it at the time.
Kimball then radioed Deputy Fox to stop the car, which was now heading back to Delta, because he had enough suspicion that a drug deal had taken place. Deputy Fox soon radioed that she was making a stop on a grey Cadillac near the ballparks and asked to have the license plate 713 PAB checked through the state’s computers.
Minutes later, as Deputy Fox approached the Cadillac, she was shot twice, and died quickly near her vehicle, on the highway just east of Delta.
Federal prosecutors spent much of Tuesday trying to disprove the version of events laid out in the 2012 trial.
Utah County Sheriff’s Department Lt., Matt Higley, again took the stand Tuesday. Shortly after Deputy Fox was killed, Higley interviewed Roman in the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office. Roman was taken there after he and another man were found hiding in a shed in a Beaver trailer court.
After Higley read Roman his Miranda Rights, Roman agreed to the interview. The quality of the recording is not good, only about half is understandable, but much can be heard. Roman confessed to killing Deputy Fox. Roman told Higley he was angry he was pulled over, when he was not violating any laws. Roman thought he was being stopped only because he is Mexican.
In the interview with Lt. Higley, Roman said he heard a person approaching his car using an “angry, high-pitched woman voice, ” he even imitated the voice to Lt. Higley. “That’s when it shifted,” Roman told Higley, “and that’s when I knew I had to shoot her.”
When Lt. Higley asked why he used the Ak-47 to kill Deputy Fox, Roman answered by saying the assault rifle “is louder, more powerful.”
Roman said he thought about going back to check on the deputy, but got scared and wanted to get out of there.
Not once in the interview with Higley did Roman mention a third person being present during the drug deal. In fact, Roman told Higley that he got in his car and left the McCornick area before Greathouse got in his pickup and left.
In that interview, Roman also admitted he had threatened to kill a cop if he was pulled over, even though at a later date, Roman said he said it to be “cool.”
During the interview with Lt. Higley, Roman drew a map where he said he hid the AK-47 and a Bersa .380 caliber handgun.
Utah County Sheriff’s Detective, Zachary Adams, was assigned to find the guns. Adams took the stand Tuesday and along with photos, showed where the guns were found and recovered. When a federal prosecutor asked if he had made a mistake, Adams said he had. He forgot to wear latex gloves when handling the weapons.
During cross-examination, Defense attorney, Jeremy Delicino, peppered Adams with questions about why he didn’t wear gloves. Delicino pointed out that keeping a crime scene and evidence pristine is crucial in determining the outcome of a crime.
Retired Utah County Sheriff’s Office crime scene investigator, Lee Fox, was also called to testify Tuesday. Fox talked about evidence found in the Beaver tool shed, such as coats, shoes, even ammunition for an AK-47. In cross-examination, defense attorney, Stephen McCaughey, asked Fox why he hadn’t checked any of those personal items for gunshot residue, particles that can help determine if someone has been near a gun. Fox said his task that day was to gather evidence and ship it to the state crime lab. When asked by McCaughey if Roman’s jacket had been tested in the lab, Fox said it had, but that no gunshot residue was found.
Judge David Nuffer, who is overseeing the trial, said he expects a rather short time in court Wednesday, though Thursday looks like a big day. Both sides will present bullet trajectory experts, to discuss evidence about the shots fired on that January morning. Jurors will also get a chance to look over the actual 1995 Cadillac that was used the day of the killing.
USA vs. Roman Day 1, January 30, 2017, Salt Lake City, Utah
UPDATE: The original print version of this article stated that a third person drove Ryan Greathouse’s truck away, and he was in the car with Roman. That came from Roman’s 2012 court statement. This online version of the article has been updated to reflect this.
Roberto Miramontes Roman, 44, faces an eleven-count federal indictment. Seven of the counts involve allegations of possessing and distributing methamphetamine, and doing so while carrying an assault-type rifl e and a handgun. Two other counts have to do with Roman being in the U.S. illegally.
Counts 7 and 8 are at the heart of U.S.A. vs. Roman. They claim that on Jan. 5, 2010, during the commission of the crime of selling drugs, and in an effort to avoid apprehension and a potential prison sentence, Roman knowingly carried and discharged an AK-47, and intentionally killed Deputy Fox while she was engaged in her official duties.
Roman was found not guilty of killing Deputy Fox in a 2012 trial in Utah’s 4th District court. Roman stunned the courtroom in Spanish Fork when he testified that Ryan Greathouse – Deputy Fox’s brother who was involved in the drug deal with Roman – was the one who shot and killed the deputy. Greathouse died of a drug overdose in Las Vegas in April of 2010, three-and-a-half months after Deputy Fox was killed. The jury found there was reasonable doubt to convict Roman.
Attorney Stephen McCaughey, who represented Roman in the state trial, and is again in the federal trial, argued that trying Roman again for the same crime amounts to double-jeopardy. But under what’s called “dual sovereignty,” the courts have determined that each state and the federal government can enact their own laws and prosecute violations of those laws in both state and federal courts.
Chief Judge, David Nuffer, is presiding over the trial. The 12-member jury and two alternate jurors is made up of five men and nine women.
Assistant United States Attorney, Diana Hagen, delivered the government’s opening statement.
Hagen pointed out that Deputy Fox was the first female officer in the Millard County Sheriff’s Office and the first female officer ever killed in the line of duty in Utah.
She talked about evidence that will be introduced she said will prove Roman intentionally killed Deputy Fox. That evidence will include forensic evidence she said will prove that the confession Roman made that he killed Deputy Fox is true. Hagen also said a bullet trajectory expert will prove that Roman fired the shots that killed Deputy Fox.
McCaughey, said the defense will also put a bullet trajectory expert on the stand. In his brief opening statement, McCaughey stressed the jury instructions read by the judge that Roman is presumed to be innocent and that the government must convince each and every one of the jurors beyond a reasonable doubt that Roman killed Deputy Fox.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Trina Higgins and John Viti Felice questioned witnesses called to the stand Monday.
First was Rhett Kimball, who was the supervising deputy on the night of Jan. 5 and morning of Jan. 6, 2010. Kimball testified that he was in an area called McCornick, south and east of Delta, where there had been some burglaries taking place recently. Around midnight, he reported seeing a car and a pick up truck pull side by side on a remote road. The car then left, but the pickup remained. Offi cer Kimball drove over to the pickup, recognized it as belonging to Ryan Greathouse, but no one was inside.
Kimball called Deputy Fox, and asked her why her brother would be in such a remote place at such an odd hour. Deputy Fox answered back that she was afraid her brother had “fallen off the wagon,” after a recent rehabilitation and might have been looking to buy drugs. Kimball asked deputy Fox to stop the car, which was now headed back to Delta, because he had reasonable suspicion that a drug deal had been carried out.
According to Roman's 2012 statement, another person had driven Ryan Greathouse’s truck away, and Greathouse was with Roman in the car.
Deputy Fox radioed that she was making a stop on a grey Cadillac “by the ballparks,” and asked to have a check run on the license plate, 7-1-3 Papa Alpha Bravo, the NATO phonetic alphabet used by military and police officials. That was the last anyone heard from Deputy Fox.
The license plate came back to a 1995 Cadillac Deville registered to Ruben Chavez Reyes in Fillmore. He is a friend of Roman’s and was later charged with obstruction of justice in the investigation. Officer Kimball then drove to the ballpark location, and when he arrived, he saw Deputy Fox’s patrol pickup with lights flashing in the road, and then saw Deputy Fox’s body lying in a pool of blood. Dashcam video from officer Kimball’s patrol vehicle, shows him running toward the fallen officer and the audio picks up his voice screaming “Josie! Talk to me Josie!,” several times. Deputy Fox did not respond, and it became clear she had died from her wounds. One bullet hit her near her badge and somehow her bullet-resistant vest did not stop the round.
Officer Kimball testified that he called for medical help, and asked that Sheriff Robert Dekker be notified. Fellow deputy, Mike Peacock then arrived and helped secure the area as a crime scene.
Officer Kimball then called Deputies Richard Jacobson and Mike Turner, who both live in Oak City. They were the closest to Ryan Greathouse’s home in nearby Leamington, and Kimball asked them to go secure him as a witness.
Deputy Richard Jacobson took the stand Monday and testified that the officers went to Greathouse’s home and told him his sister, Deputy Fox, had been shot and killed. Jacobson said Greathouse was still dressed, and described his reaction as “calm,” but that he was very willing to help in the investigation anyway he could.
Jacobson also contacted cellphone provider, T-Mobile, to track the pings from a number they believed belonged to Roman. The cell phone was pinging off cell towers, and each ping was farther north, and nearing the city of Lehi.
The pings ultimately indicated the phone was in the Rose Park area of Salt Lake City.
Other witnesses took the stand Monday, including Brad Ballow of Nephi, who testified that he saw a Cadillac that matched the description of the suspect vehicle he had seen on TV. It was stuck in a snow bank in farm fields west of Nephi. He notified police.
Juab County Sheriff’s deputy, Brent Pulver, testified that he responded to the report of the Cadillac, and that there were no license plates on the car.
Utah Highway Patrol trooper, Jeff Davis, testified that he was sent to check out a ping from the cellphone in the area of 1100 West and 300 South in Salt Lake City. He discovered an orange Corvette parked at a home, and it had the same license plates that had been on the Cadillac.
Officers from several agencies responded to the area, and set up a perimeter, but the suspects had left the area. Taxi and limousine driver, Joseph Fernando Santos, testified that he gave two men a limo ride from Nephi to Provo, then later that day, took them to Beaver on a $300 fare.
Eduardo Betancourt and his son-in-law, Valentin Dominguez Vasquez, both took the stand to say they discovered two men sleeping in their tool shed at a Beaver trailer park. Both men testified someone had put cardboard over the window of the shed. Beaver County Sheriff’s deputy, Warren Glen Woolsey, testified that he put together a team to arrest the men and they did. Officers took Roman and Chavez to the Beaver County Sheriff’s office.
By that time, Millard County Sheriff, Robert Dekker, had asked the Utah County Sheriff’s Office to take over the investigation.
Utah County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Matt Higley, interviewed Roman at the Beavere. Higley testified Monday that Roman told him he was angry that he was pulled over the morning of Jan. 5. Roman told Higley that the only reason he was pulled over was that he is Mexican. Roman told Higley the officer who pulled him over was also angry, and described her as using a “high-pitched, upset, angry female voice.” At that point, Roman told Lt. Higley that he saw the officer coming up to his car out of the corner of his eye, and that he “poked the rifle out a little bit” from the window and shot her.
Roman told Higley he had later thrown the AK-47 and a .38 caliber handgun out by the abandoned Cadillac near Nephi. He even drew Lt. Higley a map where he could find the guns.
The interview was conducted after Lt. Higley had read Roman his Miranda Rights, and he testified that Roman understood, and that he volunteered all of the information he gave in his interview with Higley.
The quality of the recorded interview with Roman is poor, and only about half of the interview is understandable. Still, Roman’s confession to killing Deputy Fox is clear.
It wasn’t until the 2014 state trial that Roman took the stand and said it was Ryan Greathouse who killed Deputy Fox. Roman testified in that trial that Greathouse had threatened to hurt or kill Roman’s children and other family members, unless Roman took responsibility for the killing and fled to Mexico.
Monday’s proceedings ended midway through the questioning of Lt. Higley. That will resume Tuesday, and several more witnesses will be called.
Several of Deputy Fox’s family members are attending the trial in Salt Lake, including her husband, parents, and sister, as well as aunts, uncles and her grandmother.
Millard County Sheriff, Robert Dekker, is also attending the trial. Outside the courthouse, Sheriff Dekker said this federal trial is the fruition of a lot of work and a lot of time. Sheriff Dekker pointed out that the state trial, in which Roman was cleared of the murder charge but convicted on drug charges, ended on a Friday.
“We’ve been working on this thing since the Saturday, the following day, and so a lot of time, a lot of effort and it’s going to be worth it,” Sheriff Dekker said. “I think it’s going to be worth it. I believe in the system, I really do, and sometimes things happen, but in my mind, and according to everything I’ve seen, he’s guilty.”
Visit millardccp.com for daily updates on the trial from the Millard County Chronicle Progress