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1991 temple slaying: Judge confirms temple slayer's guilt, condemns to 249 years

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A 1991 temple slaying left six monks, two nuns, and two temple aids dead. Twenty-three years ago, Johnathan A. Doody robbed at a Buddhist temple in metro Phoenix, slaying the peaceful religious clerics in an execution style manner before fleeing with a few thousand in cash and valuables. A judge has now ensured Doody won’t walk because of a technicality.

According to a report from The Associated Press on March 14, Doody “was found guilty in January of first-degree murder in the deaths of six monks, one nun and two helpers who were shot in the back of the head and placed face-down in a circle in August 1991 at the Wat Promkunaram temple west of Phoenix.”

Doody, who was 17 at the time he committed the crimes, has always maintained his innocence. In 2011, an appeals court threw out the previous ruling after Doody had spent nearly two decades behind bars, saying that investigators had coerced a forced confession out of the Thai immigrant.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Kreamer said she doesn’t want to lose sight of the victims. "These people were peace-loving," Kreamer said. "These people didn't seek violence."

In January, at Doody’s third trial in 22 years, the judge reaffirmed Doody’s culpability, and he was found guilty of nine counts of first-degree murder, nine counts of armed robbery and one count each of burglary and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Friday, Doody was sentenced to nine straight life sentences – 249 years in all. He won’t be eligible for parole until he has served 175 straight years.

"We hope this sentence makes him suffer for the rest of his life," said Barb Heller, who attended the trial and spoke on behalf of the temple at Doody’s sentencing.

Head over to Arizona Central for more details on this story.

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