Suspects in Deputy Slaying Nabbed, Asleep in Beaver County Shed

Mark Havnes, Salt Lake Tribune, January 7, 2010

A 37-hour manhunt through several counties ended swiftly and peacefully Wednesday morning when a tip led Beaver County deputies to two men wanted in the death of a Millard County sheriff’s deputy.

Roberto Miramontes Roman and Ruben Chavez Reyes were sleeping in a shed in northern Beaver about 8:15 a.m. when SWAT officers rushed in and arrested the pair.

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Roman, 37, is suspected of fatally shooting Millard County sheriff’s Deputy Josie Fox after she stopped his vehicle at 1 a.m. Tuesday on U.S. Highway 50 in Delta.

Roman has been charged with capital murder and tampering with evidence and could face the death penalty if convicted. He was taken to the Millard County jail in anticipation of an arraignment today in Fillmore’s 4th District Court.

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Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said Chavez Reyes would be interviewed but did not know if any charges would be sought against him. He said police are looking for others who may have aided Roman.

Chavez Reyes, 36, was in custody on an immigration hold, according to Lindsay Mitchell, public information officer for the Millard County Sheriff’s Office. Both men are Mexican nationals.

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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 shot and killed her with a bullet that entered her chest just above her protective vest.

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Immigration officials said Wednesday that both Roman and Chavez Reyes are Mexican nationals who are in the United States illegally.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Roman was admitted to the United States legally in 1990, but was deported in 1998 to his native country because of criminal convictions.

He was arrested twice after that for illegally re-entering the United States and prosecuted in 2005 in U.S. District Court in Arizona for that offense, according to ICE. Court records show he was sentenced to 150 days in prison.

Utah state court records show that Roman has a significant criminal history, beginning in 1992 with a misdemeanor drug distribution charge to which he pleaded guilty in Fillmore. In 1996 and 1997, Roman was charged in Millard County 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 9 mm 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.

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