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Johnathan Doody sentenced to 249 years for 1991 temple slaying

PHOENIX (AP) - A man convicted of killing nine people, including six monks, during a robbery at a Buddhist temple in metro Phoenix was sentenced Friday to 249 years in prison, marking the end of one of the most notorious crimes committed in Arizona over the last 25 years.

Johnathan A. 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 were placed face-down in a circle in August 1991 at the Wat Promkunaram temple west of Phoenix.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph Kreamer said it's difficult to fathom the murders. "These people were peace-loving," Kreamer said. "These people didn't seek violence."

Doody, who was 17 at the time of the crimes, was one of two men convicted in the killings.

Allesandro "Alex" Garcia, a high school friend of Doody's, pleaded guilty and was previously sentenced to life in prison in exchange for his testimony and a promise that prosecutors wouldn't seek the death penalty.

During the retrials, Garcia described for jurors how the crime was Doody's idea, aimed at stealing about $2,600 cash and valuables from the monks. Garcia said he tried to persuade Doody not to kill the victims after the robbery, but Doody was determined to leave behind no witnesses.

Police found the stolen items at Garcia's house, where Doody was staying at the time.

Doody's brother and mother were members of the temple, but neither were there the night of the shootings.

Doody, who maintains he is innocent of the crimes, declined to make comments to the judge before the sentence was handed down.

"We hope this sentence makes him suffer for the rest of his life," Barb Heller, who spoke on behalf of the temple, told the jury before the sentence was given.

Defense attorneys argued Garcia was lying and only implicated Doody to avoid a death sentence. Prosecutors said both men were equally culpable and that Garcia had no reason to fabricate his story.

Doody's attorneys plan to appeal their client's convictions.

Defense attorney Maria Schaffer told the judge that Doody has expressed remorse for what happened to the victims. "But he wants everybody to know that he did not do these crimes," Schaffer said.

Doody was spared the death penalty in his first trial.

Prosecutors couldn't seek the death penalty in his retrials because of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibits authorities from pursuing that punishment against defendants who were younger than 18 years old when the crime occurred.


Associated Press writer Brian Skoloff contributed to this report.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
lgreg2001 March 15 2014 at 1:45 PM

If his parents had a sense of humor, they would have given him the first name "Howdy"

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lawrencentral March 15 2014 at 11:01 PM

Actually, the death sentence was imposed here but the reporter expressed it in different terms.
In fact, Doody was sentenced to death by incarceration; a very slow death indeed.

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dxter1i March 15 2014 at 5:29 PM

So think about this .... those that were hurt by this monster have already been hurt .. cant take that back... OK what to do ummmm..... Oh I know lets feed ,cloth and give it a warm place to sleep inside out of the weather..... forever.. OR MY WAY SHOOT THIS PIECE OF CR__ BETWEEN THE EYES.......... DONE.. NO MORE COST NO MORE MONSTER. CASE CLOSED!!!

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2 replies
ch1938 dxter1i March 15 2014 at 5:35 PM

Agreed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Sir Raymond dxter1i March 15 2014 at 5:40 PM

That would be great if it were't for so many bleeding hearts that don't believe(for whatever reason) in the death penalty! I really would love to see these Creeps shot on live t.v. Maybe then, if even just one creep believed he may be executed if he took a life.....then maybe he would think twice ! Then again.....probably not.

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1 reply
Meaghan Sir Raymond March 15 2014 at 6:25 PM

I agree that we are far too soft! We do need to change our system so others will think twice. We need stiffer penalties. Castration for molesters may decrease the number of children who are harmed on a daily basis. Cut off a few fingers for those who are habitual thieves, at least those who break into the homes of the hard working and take what they want. The penalty has to fit the crime. In this country, we pamper the criminal. We actually go as far as to feel sorry for them! I just can't do that. I want judgment where judgment is due.

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Sir Raymond March 15 2014 at 5:33 PM

Hopefully both SCUM suffer in Prison for the rest of their natural lives.

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Bill March 15 2014 at 1:20 PM


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3 replies
alaskafaye March 15 2014 at 1:20 PM

This is what I don't understand...you have Garcia, a murderer and thief, and then his words are taken as though they came out of a prayer book. Why isn't it possible he was lying about the part he played? I think, unless there is unmistakable eyewitness proof, all involved in a crime (especially one of this magnitude) should be held equally guilty and receive the same punishment.

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trackerdonn6 March 15 2014 at 5:33 PM

That's only 27.6 years for each murder. He should get DEATH!!!!

Flag Reply +3 rate up
ch1938 March 15 2014 at 5:34 PM

Hang him, Why should we feed him and give an easy life. It just cost the US a ton of money and he should be gone. Fireing squad would be ok too.

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meemeepit March 15 2014 at 1:14 PM

nice way to spend your years left on this earth.....schmuck...he should really just be executed !!!

Flag Reply +7 rate up
JCH79021111 March 15 2014 at 1:13 PM

What, No Eye For An Eye??? Bring Back Capital Punishment. Maybe This **** Would Stop.

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1 reply
hearttender52 JCH79021111 March 15 2014 at 1:24 PM

What do you mean, "bring back capital punishment?" It is alive and well, just check out how many people Texas kills every year. An "eye for an eye?" That's an old biblical standard that was destroyed, according to the Messiah, and in it's place is, "Love your enemy." That's much harder to do than to just do the eye for an eye thing. Also there is the edict to not judge someone who has a speck of dirt in his eye when you have a log in your own. Just a few thoughts to think about.

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