Opening Arguments Underway In Retrial Of Man Accused In Buddhist Temple Murders

August 21, 2013

A man accused of killing nine people at a Phoenix-area Buddhist temple is back in court 22 years after the crime.  Johnthan Doody was granted a new trial after an appeals court ruled investigators did not fully advise him of his rights during questioning.

Doody was a teenager when he was charged along with his friend for the murders at the Wat Pramkunaram Temple in Waddell, west of Phoenix. The co-defendant Alessandro Garcia testified against Doody to avoid the death penalty. Although investigators said Doody confessed to the crime, Doody has always maintained his innocence. 

During opening arguments, Prosecutor Jason Kalish told jurors that Maricopa County Sheriff’s investigators spent eight days at the crime scene, because they had no leads when the mass murder was reported. 

“There was nobody alive to tell them what happened. There were no surveillance cameras," said Kalish. "No spy satellites, nothing that we could use today to try to say who was responsible for this crime."

Jurors saw photos taken at the temple that showed the nine bodies lying face down on the floor in a circle. The case gathered international attention because it involved revered Buddhists from Thailand who were at the temple that night. 

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