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1991 Temple Killer Sentenced to 249 Years in Prison

An Arizona man convicted of killing six monks and three others at a Buddhist temple in 1991 was sentenced to nine life terms on Friday, according to court officials.

Johnathan Doody, 39, was found guilty in January nine counts of first degree murder for participating in the massacre at Wat Promkunaram temple outside of Phoenix when he was 17.

Maricopa County Judge Joseph Kreamer ruled Doody will serve 249 years in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Maricopa County Superior Court.

The Thailand-born man was also convicted of armed robbery and one count each of burglary and conspiracy by jurors, according to Maricopa County Superior Court.

Doody was originally convicted in 1994, but the decision was thrown out because the U.S. appeals court said his confession was coerced. In a 2013 retrial, the jury came to a deadlock.

Doody was questioned for 12 hours in October 1991 and admitted that he was involved with killing six monks, one novice, one nun and a temple boy. Their bodies were found face down, arranged in a circle, each with a single gunshot wound to the head on Aug. 10, 1991, according to Reuters.

Investigators eventually targeted Doody and his friend Allesandro "Alex" Garcia after a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle was found in Garcia’s vehicle and deemed to be the murder weapon.

Garcia was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty. He testified that the murder spree was Doody’s idea, in an effort to steal from the monks. Doody maintained his innocence and said his confession was coaxed out of him, according to The Associated Press.

Doody was not eligible for the death penalty because of his age when he carried out the killing, prosecutors said.

— Elisha Fieldstadt

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Image:
Johnathan A. Doody, enters the court of Maricopa County Superior Court Joseph Kreamer on Friday, March 14, 2014 in Phoenix, Ariz. Doody, convicted of killing nine people, including six monks, during a robbery at a Buddhist temple in metro Phoenix was sentenced Friday to 249 years in prison. Rob Schumacher / AP