Author of “Innocent Until Interrogated” about the 1991 Buddhist Temple Massacre & “The Tucson Four” to speak in TucsonMonday, November 15th, 2010
Meet Gary L. Stuart, author of the recently published “Innocent Until Interrogated, The True Story of the Buddhist Temple Massacre and the Tucson Four” on:
–Friday Nov 19, 7 p.m.
U A Poetry Center, Dorothy Rubel room
1508 E. Helen St. (SE corner of N. Vine Ave., north of Speedway)
–Saturday Nov. 20, 2 p.m.
Border’s Books & Music at Park Place Mall
5870 E Broadway Blvd.
This “riveting exploration” of one of the most heinous crimes in Arizona’s history took place near Phoenix in 1991, the mass murder of 9 residents (6 monks) of a Thai Buddhist temple. In February, 2010 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals voided Johnathan Doody’s confession and conviction, which was overturned last month by the U.S. Supreme Court which directed the 9th Circuit to revisit its decision. So this case is still ongoing.
From the publisher University of Arizona Press:
On a sweltering August morning, a woman walked into a Buddhist temple near Phoenix and discovered the most horrific crime in Arizona history. Nine Buddhist temple members—six of them monks committed to lives of non-violence—lay dead in a pool of blood, shot execution style. The massive manhunt that followed turned up no leads until a tip from a psychiatric patient led to the arrest of five suspects. Each initially denied their involvement in the crime, yet one by one, under intense interrogation, they confessed.
Soon after, all five men recanted, saying their confessions had been coerced. One was freed after providing an alibi, but the remaining suspects—dubbed “The Tucson Four” by the media—remained in custody even though no physical evidence linked them to the crime.
Seven weeks later, investigators discovered—almost by chance—physical evidence that implicated two entirely new suspects. The Tucson Four were finally freed on November 22 after two teenage boys confessed to the crime, yet troubling questions remained. Why were confessions forced out of innocent suspects? Why and how did legal authorities build a case without evidence? And, ultimately, how did so much go so wrong?
In this first book-length treatment of the Buddhist Temple Massacre, Gary L. Stuart explores the unspeakable crime, the inexplicable confessions, and the troubling behavior of police officials. Stuart’s impeccable research for the book included a review of the complete legal records of the case, an examination of all the physical evidence, a survey of three years of print and broadcast news, and more than fifty personal interviews related to the case. Like “In Cold Blood”, and “The Executioner’s Song”, “Innocent Until Interrogated” is a riveting read that provides not only a striking account of the crime and the investigation but also a disturbing look at the American justice system at its very worst.
I haven’t read this book…yet, but I intend to. A few years ago I did re-read Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” which was chilling.
Anyone remember this Buddhist temple murder case & “The Tucson Four”? If not, go to Gary Stuart’s talk to find out.
Update: my notes on 11/23:
Perused this book last night and learned more about co-defendant Alex Garcia, who testified against Doody and is also serving several life sentences in prison. This seemed to have been a burglary/robbery that went way too far with the executions of the 6 monks and 3 members of the Wat Promkunaram temple in Waddell, Arizona. This first mass murder case in Arizona led to the election of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary of September 1992, after his predecessor Sheriff Tom Agnos had to endure the publicity of the botched forced confessions, done by his officers.
Johnathan Doody’s conviction overturned today by 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (8-3 decision) based on defective Miranda warnings at time of arrest. Miranda vs. Arizona was decided in 1966 and this case was tried in 1991 in Maricopa County. Defendant Doody has to be retired or released. He was 17 at the time of the arrest/confession.
Read AZ Daily Star article: