This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Three weeks ago, The Salt Lake Tribune published my column and a statement by Russell Greathouse, whose daughter was shot to death in 2010 and whose son died of a drug overdose several months later.
In August, jurors acquitted Roberto Miramontes Román, the man charged with killing Millard County sheriff's Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox.
In his statement, Russell Greathouse mourned his daughter and son, Ryan Greathouse, whom Román, in surprising trial testimony, accused of pulling the trigger. Russell Greathouse also excoriated the defendant, the jury that acquitted him, the judge and the prosecutor.
His anguished remarks and this wrenching case drew scores of online comments. Here is a sampling of those reactions and the screen names of the readers who sent them.
"This type of injustice happens frequently because jurors are idiots. Expect more of this, people are easily manipulated and fooled. This case makes me sick."
"UNBELIEVABLE! How can the defense and jury sleep at night knowing they have acquitted a cold-blooded killer? Evidence and logic played no part in this decision. God bless this family who has suffered so much."
"Evidence and logic was the reason Román was found not guilty. If [the jurors are] unable to sleep at night, it'd be because they knew Román most likely killed Deputy Fox, but the prosecution failed them by not presenting a case beyond a reasonable doubt."
"In my opinion, the anger is misdirected. Great police work and an airtight case is what convicts people that commit crime. [Román's] confession was shoddy and at times inaudible. The physical evidence had issues. Neither the police nor the prosecution was able to completely eliminate the brother as a suspect. While the father chooses not to believe it as reasonable doubt, it exists nonetheless."
"So, a guy who admits a crime, then goes back on the statement trumps a recorded statement by another guy who was present at the scene of the crime, but later dies? A guy like Román will get his justice sooner or later."
"When I heard this decision, I was completely shocked. I'm very glad Mr. Greathouse has released his statement. I know he does it not only to shed light on this injustice, but also to honor his beloved daughter. The loss of any loved one is profound, but to have one murdered in this way, and then have the murderer skate on the charges, is too much to bear. We've been lied to."
"To me, it seems more probable that Román was telling the truth as he understood it. My best guess is that the facts in this case were complicated, and the prosecution didn't sufficiently take that into consideration when it conducted the investigation and devised its trial strategy."
"This was a complicated case no doubt. Either one of them, Ryan or Román, could have lied, or for that matter told the truth. I feel bad for the parents, as stated, they lost two of their kids, it's unusual that one was a law-abiding law official and the other was a criminal drug addict, and they were both involved in the same crime, very strange indeed. The father needs to come to terms with the sentence and hopefully has grandchildren to spend time with!"
Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/pegmcentee and Twitter, @pegmcentee.