When the U.S. attorney says it's not a do over it really is a do over, and that's exactly what they're doing. —Defense attorney Steve McCaughey
SALT LAKE CITY — A man acquitted by a state jury last year of murdering a Millard County sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty Monday to new federal charges filed against him for the same crime.
Roberto Roman, 41, pleaded not guilty to the 11 new counts against him, including a charge of intentionally killing a local law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of official duties.
His attorney said Roman believes he's innocent. He was vindicated once, and he believes he'll be vindicated again.
Defense attorney Steve McCaughey said he'll bring up double jeopardy issues, but federal prosecutors say double jeopardy doesn't apply in this case.
"It's very clear the courts have clearly indicated that the federal government and state government are always free to bring their own individual charges in the case," U.S. Attorney for Utah David Barlow said.
"When the U.S. attorney says it's not a do-over, it really is a do-over, and that's exactly what they're doing,” McCaughey said. “They don't like the result. They don't like the result that happened in Spanish Fork (the acquittal), so they're taking another shot at it."
On Sept. 5, a federal grand jury was asked to look at the evidence and returned an 11-count indictment against Roman. Federal prosecutors say Roman was trying to avoid arrest for a felony drug crime when he shot and killed Millard County sheriff's deputy Josie Greathouse Fox.
In addition to the charge of intentionally killing a local law enforcement officer, Roman faces three counts of distributing methamphetamine; three counts of possessing an AK-47 or Bersa .380 handgun in a drug-trafficking crime; using an AK-47 in a violent crime; illegal possession of a firearm as a former inmate; possessing a firearm while in the country illegally; and entering the country illegally.
Fox, 37, was shot and killed after initiating a traffic stop near Delta on Jan. 5, 2010.
The day after the shooting, Roman confessed to killing Fox. But during his trial 2 ½ years later, he changed his story and testified that the killer was actually Fox's own brother, Ryan Greathouse, who is now dead.
According to police, Greathouse had purchased drugs from Roman just minutes before the shooting death. Fox and another deputy had been watching the suspicious vehicles from a distance because, investigators said, there had been a string of thefts in the area.
Greathouse, 40, died of an accidental drug overdose 4 ½ months after his sister was killed.1 comment on this story
In August of 2012, a jury decided that there was not enough evidence against Roberto Roman to find him guilty of murder and he was acquitted. However, he was found guilty two crimes connected to the shooting — tampering with evidence and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person — and he is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence.
At sentencing, the judge told Roman he got away with murder.
Roman’s federal trial is scheduled for Nov. 25.