Waddell Buddhist temple shooting

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Arizona Buddhist temple shooting
LocationWaddell, Arizona, United States
DateAugust 9, 1991
Attack type
Mass shooting, mass murder, robbery
Weapons
Deaths9
Perpetrators
  • Johnathan Doody
  • Allessandro Garcia
MotiveRobbery

The Waddell Buddhist temple shooting occurred on August 9, 1991, when nine people were robbed and killed at the Wat Promkunaram Buddhist temple in Waddell, Arizona. Their bodies were found on August 10, 1991. The shooting is considered the worst massacre in Arizona's modern history.[1][2]

Investigation[edit]

The victims were all linked to the temple and either Thais or of Thai descent: Pairuch Kanthong, the abbott; five monks, Surichai Anuttaro, Boochuay Chaiyarach, Chalerm Chantapim, Siang Ginggaeo, and Somsak Sopha; a nun, Foy Sripanpasert; her nephew, Matthew Miller, who was a novice monk; and a temple employee, Chirasak Chirapong.[3]

After the shooting, four men from Tucson, referred to as the "Tucson Four", were initially charged with the crime and gave confessions. However, they later recanted the confessions. Afterward, all four were exonerated when it was discovered they had nothing to do with the crime.[1][4] The Tucson Four were released after three months of incarceration. They promptly filed wrongful-arrest civil suits against the Maricopa County sheriff’s office. In September 1994, they won a $2.8 million out-of-court settlement offered by Maricopa County.[5]

Subsequently, the police found the murder weapon, a .22-caliber rifle, in the car of a friend of 17-year-old Johnathan Doody, Thai (born May 9, 1974, Nakon Nayok, Thailand),[6] leading the investigation to Doody and 16-year-old Allessandro Garcia (born June 12, 1975).[7] According to Garcia, he and Doody went with the .22-caliber rifle and his 20-gauge shotgun to the temple and robbed it of approximately $2,600 and some A/V equipment. Garcia claimed that Doody panicked, thinking that one of the monks had recognized him as a brother of a temple-goer, then shot all of the victims in the head with the rifle, while Garcia shot four of them again in the torso with the shotgun.[3][4] According to Garcia, the crime had been planned and leaving no witnesses was part of it.[4]

Legal proceedings: 1993–2014[edit]

Both men were charged with the crime of armed robbery and first-degree murder and convicted in 1994, Doody by a jury and Garcia by a plea deal. They received several lifetimes in prison.[1][8] On the basis that his confession had been improperly obtained, Doody's conviction was overturned in 2008 by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and again in 2011.[3]

Doody's second trial resulted in a mistrial in 2013.[1]

The third trial concluded in January 2014 and found Doody guilty on all counts, including the nine murders. The jury based its findings on Garcia's testimony and circumstantial evidence. Doody was sentenced to 281 years in prison.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Laurie Merrill, Miguel Otarola (October 24, 2013). "Judge declares mistrial in temple killings retrial of Johnathan Doody". azcentral/ The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  2. ^ Teen-ager convicted in Buddhist temple massacre, The Day (July 13, 1993).
  3. ^ a b c Michael Kiefer (January 23, 2014). "Jurors find Johnathan Doody guilty in Buddhist temple massacre". azcentral/ The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Laughlin Laura, (January 7, 1993). "Youth Pleads Guilty to Buddhist Massacre : Murder: He agrees to testify against accomplice in deal that spares him the death penalty. Slayings in Phoenix temple had been well-planned". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  5. ^ Stuart, Gary L. "False Confessions, the Tucson Four". www.miranda-vs-arizona.com. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  6. ^ Stuart, Gary L., Innocent Until Interrogated: The True Story of the Buddhist Temple Massacre and the Tucson Four, University of Arizona Press, 2012, p. 258. ISBN 0816504490.
  7. ^ Profile - Allessandro Garcia, MUGSHOTS.COM. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  8. ^ a b David Schwartz (March 14, 2014). "Arizona man gets nine life terms for Buddhist temple murders". Reuters. Retrieved June 19, 2015.

Coordinates: 33°31′50″N 112°25′47″W / 33.53064°N 112.42979°W / 33.53064; -112.42979