By Bob Mims And Nate Carlisle
The Salt Lake Tribune
Updated: 01/06/2010 12:10:44 PM MST
Deputy Josie Fox killed
Fallen officer remembered for unwavering compassionJan 5:
Statewide manhunt under way for alleged cop killerBoth suspects sought in the slaying of a Millard County sheriff's deputy were captured Wednesday morning in Beaver County, and prosecutors have already said they intend to seek the death penalty for one.
Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel confirmed that Roberto Miramontes Roman, the alleged killer of Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox, and a "person of interest," Ruben Chavez Reyes, were taken into custody without incident about 8:15 a.m.
"We got a tip and found them asleep in a shed. Deputies and SWAT officers went in and removed them," Noel said.
He said the suspects were being transferred at an unspecified time later Wednesday to Millard County's custody in Fillmore. The shed where the suspects were found was behind a home in a mobile home park, in the outskirts of northern Beaver. Security was tight around the scene Wednesday morning, as Utah Highway Patrol, Beaver County and Millard County sheriff's deputies and federal agents combed the area.
Roman has been charged with aggravated murder, a capital felony, and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony. As of noon, the suspects were still being held in the Beaver County Jail pending transfer later Wednesday to the Millard County Jail in Fillmore.
Fox, a 37-year-old mother of two, was gunned down about 1 a.m. Tuesday about one mile east of Delta, shortly after she pulled over a 1995 gray Cadillac Deville driven by Roman. Sheriff's investigators say Roman, 37, possibly armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, opened fire on Fox, killing her with a bullet that entered her chest just above her protective vest.
Roman's car was one of two vehicles deputies were watching Tuesday in connection with possible thefts and break-ins in the area. The driver of the second car, according to court documents filed Tuesday, was Ryan Greathouse, Fox's brother. The documents say that during the meeting on the dirt road, Greathouse bought drugs from Roman.
The Millard County sheriff said he is not seeking criminal charges against 40-year-old Greathouse.
When visited at his home, Greathouse admitted he bought drugs from Roman, court documents say. He told them Roman's telephone number and said Roman had family on Salt Lake City's west side.
That put the hunt into high gear. A ping of Roman's cell phone produced a hit from a tower on Interstate 15 in Salt Lake County. About 4 a.m., a state trooper near 1100 West and 300 South in Salt Lake City found an orange Corvette with the license plate that belonged to the Cadillac.
Three SWAT teams deployed in that neighborhood looking for Roman. Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jeff Nigbur said the teams found Roman's uncle hiding in a shed, but no sign
Meanwhile police found the Cadillac abandoned outside Nephi. Police there received information Roman might be at the home of a female acquaintance near 600 East and 100 North.
Nephi Police Chief Mike Morgan said the woman was uncooperative and a SWAT team was called. The woman eventually left the house and police questioned her, Morgan said. When she consented to a search, police found no one inside the house.
Documents filed Tuesday in state court in Fillmore included aggravated murder charges against Roman, which is punishable by death. Roman was also charged with a felony count of evidence tampering for allegedly changing the license plate on the cars.
Roman, apparently a Mexican national in the country illegally, has a significant criminal history, beginning in 1992 with a misdemeanor drug distribution charge to which he pleaded guilty in Fillmore.
Then in 1996 and 1997, Roman was charged in Millard County with in two different cases with a handful of felonies, including drug charges, receiving stolen property and a weapons count.
He was sent to prison for up to 15 years after pleading guilty to one count of second-degree felony drug possession with intent to distribute and one count of third-degree felony drug possession.
In the 1996 case, an informant told police he had been selling drugs for Roman for about a year, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in 4th District Court. The informant also told police he had traded a Tech 9mm semi-automatic pistol to Roman for drugs, and that he believed Roman kept the weapon and a cache of illegal drugs in a back bedroom of his Delta area trailer home.
On Sept. 15, 1998, Roman was released from prison into the custody of immigration authorities and deported.
Greathouse was convicted of a misdemeanor drug charge in 1994 and again in 2004, according to court documents. Tuesday's documents do not specify what drug he allegedly bought.
-- Stephen Hunt and Mark Havnes contributed to this report.