Arizona prosecutors are considering a retrial in a 1991 murder case after the Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the matter.
The Ninth Circuit has now issued two opinions granting Jonathan Doody a new trial, finding that Doody was "prejudiced by extensive interrogation and inadequate Miranda warnings," reports Courthouse News Service.
On the morning of August 10, 1991, members of the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist Temple discovered nine bodies inside the temple. The victims, including six Buddhist monks, lay face down in a circle, each shot in the head.
Approximately one month after the temple murders, Phoenix detectives received an anonymous tip implicating four men from Tucson. One of those men steered the investigators to Doody and another minor, Alessandro Garcia, whom he reported had borrowed the rifle shortly before the murders.
Police officers approached Doody on October 25, 1991, at a high school football game; Doody voluntarily accompanied the police officers to the station for questioning. After more than 12 hours of non-stop questioning, then-17-year-old Doody confessed to the murders.
Doody, who has since maintained that he was innocent, was later convicted and sentenced to 281 years, reports the AP.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that a state court determination that Doody's confession was voluntary was an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the audiotapes that reflect the relentless, nearly 13-hour interrogation of a sleep-deprived juvenile by a tag team of detectives.
Jonathan Doody's attorney, Victoria Eiger, claims that Arizona has no case without Doody's confession, but Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne claims there's other evidence to support a retrial; Alessandro Garcia, the co-defendant in the case, said that Doody was the triggerman, reports The Washington Post.
- Doody v. Schriro (FindLaw's CaseLaw)
- Mumia Abu-Jamal to Receive New Sentence for Philly Cop Murder (FindLaw's Third Circuit blog)
- By the Numbers: Supreme Court Reversal and the Ninth Circuit (FindLaw's Ninth Circuit blog)
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (U.S. Courts)