2 versions of deputy's death created doubt for jurors

Jury defied 'gut,' 'instinct' and focused on law, forewoman says

Published: Saturday, Aug. 18 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

Millard County Sheriff's Sgt. Rhett Kimball testified previously that he was monitoring the McCornick area, where there had been a string of thefts, in the late night hours spanning Jan. 4 and Jan. 5, 2010.

At one point, he saw what appeared to be a meeting between two vehicles and then both cars drove away in different directions. Kimball was fairly certain one vehicle belonged to Ryan Greathouse. He asked Fox, Greathouse's sister who was on patrol, to try and identify the other vehicle as it headed toward Delta.

Fox stopped the Cadillac DeVille about 1 a.m. and called in the license plate number to dispatchers and was told to stop the vehicle.

Kimball drove to Fox's location soon after and found only her vehicle, emergency lights activated. When he pulled up alongside her car, he said he found Fox lying in the road.

"Two bullets from an AK-47 rifle while on a traffic stop," prosecutor Pat Finlinson described to the jury. "Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox lay on the road in a pool of blood."

The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

Deputies went to Greathouse's home soon after to ask him who he had met with earlier in the night and to see if the suspect or suspect vehicle was there.

"He was pretty even-keeled throughout the whole evening," deputy Michael Turner testified during the trial. "He didn't appear to be upset by any means."

But when Greathouse was informed his sister had been shot, he looked to be "dejected" and agreed to go with police.

"He was sad about it," Turner said. "He was upset. ... I remember feeling sorry for him."

During an earlier preliminary hearing, detective Richard Jacobson said Greathouse told them that he had purchased drugs from a man he knew only as "Rob" earlier that morning. He gave police the phone number, and they were able to trace it to Roman through his cell phone service provider.

Roman: I 'broke a cop'

As Roman fled, he placed calls to a friend, Ruben Chavez-Reyes, asking for help after getting his car stuck in a snowbank in Nephi. Soon after Chavez-Reyes arrived, Roman threw the AK-47 and another firearm out the window and took the license plate from his Cadillac and attached it to Chavez-Reyes' vehicle. The two men traveled to the Poplar Grove neighborhood in Salt Lake City, where, according to an interview Chavez-Reyes had with police, Roman told Chavez-Reyes in their native Spanish that he "broke a cop."

Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Matt Higley, who conducted the interview, said Chavez-Reyes believed that meant Roman had killed a police officer.

"He told us that Roman was his friend and that he was already involved at this point, knowingly or unknowingly, and was determined to help his friend," Higley said at the time. "He thought he would get 20 years and Mr. Roman would get the gas chamber. Those were his words."

The two men then traveled to Provo before they were found hiding in a shed in Beaver. Chavez-Reyes, 39, was eventually convicted by a jury of obstruction of justice, burglary and tampering with evidence and was sentenced to prison. Chavez-Reyes did not testify at trial.

Police confession

At the time of the arrest, Roman had already been charged with murdering Fox. In a police interview on Jan. 6, 2010, Higley said Roman confessed to killing the deputy.

Higley said Roman told him that he and Greathouse had gone for a drive and smoked some methamphetamine and that Roman recounted telling Greathouse that if a car they could see in the distance turned out to be a police vehicle, he planned to open fire.

"He made statements that he would shoot at police officers, that it would not be a good night to be a police officer," Higley said Roman told him.

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