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'You got away with murder,' judge tells Roberto Roman, acquitted of killing Millard Co. sheriff's deputy

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24 2012 4:57 p.m. MDT

"(Josie) didn't really trust the justice system," he said. "You don't need to let her down. … You've got one more decision. I hope you make the right one because he doesn't deserve to get out at all."

Assistant Attorney General Patrick Nolan outlined Roman's history for the judge, noting that Roman was arrested for a DUI at age 18, had been charged with a felony by age 20 and was ordered to prison by the time he was 25 for drug- and gun-related charges. He also said Roman has a history of avoiding accountability for his crimes.

"Fifteen years have passed, and look where we are," Nolan said. "Drugs and guns got us here. Drugs and guns have led to the deaths of two people in Millard County. … He continues to blame other people. … Never yet has he taken responsibility for any of his conduct."

Defense attorney Steve McCaughey asked that Eyre sentence his client to concurrent sentences. McCaughey took issue with the consecutive recommendation in a presentence report that, at one point, questioned why Roman never talked with police and told them his version of events.

"As his attorneys, we told him not to talk to police," the attorney said, before asking Eyre to consider the nearly three years Roman has spent in custody already. "He's done three years of hard time. That ought to be considered by the court."

But Eyre said he felt Roman's criminal history, "the severity of the crimes" and "the gravity of the surrounding circumstances" warranted consecutive sentences.

McCaughey said after the hearing that the sentence was one he had expected. He also said he advised Roman against speaking at the hearing due to possible federal charges.

"That's enough for me to tell him not to say anything," McCaughey said. "We expected (the sentence). We told him going in he'd be getting consecutive sentences."

McCaughey said an appeal is planned and that the judge's comment about Roman getting away with murder could come up.

"He could have said it differently, I think," he said.

Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said he agrees completely with the judge.

"I believe (Roman) got away with murder, and that's upsetting because the very system deputy Fox died protecting failed her in this particular case," the sheriff said. "But it's still a great nation. It's still a great system. It doesn't always work right, and that is what happened in this case."

Dekker said he was happy with the sentence but that those who knew and loved Fox will continue to struggle with her death and what happened in the trial.

"This was a great and terrible loss," he said. "It affects (Fox's family) forever, as it does all of us."

E-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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