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Buddhist temple deaths: Man charged with nine deaths at age 17 faces retrial

Buddhist temple deaths: Killer charged with nine deaths at age 17 faces retrial
Buddhist temple deaths: Killer charged with nine deaths at age 17 faces retrial
Photo File, OUP Commons Blog

Buddhist temple deaths dating back to 1991 are returning to the limelight this week, as is the alleged culprit of the murders, Johnathon Doody of Phoenix, Arizona. The man was only 17 at the time when he was found guilty of killing nine people, six of them Buddhist monks, by shooting them in the back of the head. The accused killer now faces a quickly approaching retrial this 2014. The Inquisitr tells the troubling story behind the massacre this Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.

The Buddhist temple deaths have led to a total of three separate trials over the years for the man who was accused, then convicted, of killing a total of nine innocent victims. Now, the most recent retrial is taking shape after it was announced that his confession was not valid. Johnathan Doody was only 17 years old when the man was charged of participating in a deadly shooting at the Wat Promkunaram temple, located in Phoenix. A jury found him guilty in the needless deaths, where evidence was shown that he shot a majority of the victims directly in the back of the head (much like an execution).

A total of 17 rounds were said to be fired, and they were completed so precisely and with such calculation that not one shot missed its target, added the report. Doody was formally convicted a couple years later in 1993, and the man was then sentenced to over 280 years in prison by a jury. However, a retrial was ordered back in 2011 after an appeals court dictated that his confession “had been unprofessionally obtained by case examiners and investigators.”

According to the press release on the Buddhist temple deaths:

“A jury failed to come to a verdict in a trial that ended in October, and prosecutors moved forward with a third trial for Jonthathan Doody in early December … Jurors hearing the third trial in the Buddhist temple deaths deliberated on Monday, with deliberations expected to resume Tuesday morning.”

Prosecutors are asserting that Johnathon was a cold-blooded killer that prepared and executed the fatal shooting at the Buddhist temple, slaying all witnesses who might identify him. The man’s own brother and even his mother were respected members of the temple.

“This was someone who planned out what was going to happen before he even stepped foot inside that temple,” the lead prosecutor told jurors. “This is somebody going person to person and back again killing them, shooting them, making sure they were dead.”

“But defense attorneys contended that the original conviction hinged on the word of Allesandro “Alex” Garcia, who pleaded guilty to participating in the Buddhist temple killings but said Doody pulled the trigger. Garcia claimed that it was Doody’s idea to rob the temple of $2,600 in cash and valuables, but defense attorneys say he is lying and already implicated four other men who were found to have no connection to the killings.”

“The only killer, the only murderer that has been in this courtroom is Alex Garcia,” said defense attorney Maria Schaffer. “And Mr. Doody isn’t guilty, was not involved in the temple murders whatsoever.”

Prosecutors have declined to seek the death penalty for Johnathon Doody even if he is convicted again because he was under 18 years of age at the time of the fatal killings.