With word last week that convicted murderer and Satanic sect leader Jason Doty has cancer, the chances of ever finding out who murdered a Northwest restaurant manager three years ago - and whether people who may have been involved in the slaying are still on the street - became an even more remote prospect.
Doty, interviewed by phone March 28 from the prisoners' ward at St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson, confirmed he was diagnosed with lymphoma, or cancer of the lymph system. He said a biopsy performed in January confirmed the presence of the disease but it's unclear if the cancer is terminal.
"I don't have those kind of details, I've just been told that's it's a rare type of cancer and it's lymphatic. As it's been explained to me, I've been very fortunate right now that it hasn't got into my bone marrow and all that other stuff," Doty said.
Currently serving two life sentences in prison without parole for two murders, Doty also remains the primary suspect in the unsolved murder of Robin Hay, a mother of two who was brutally slashed to death in March 2000 at the eegee's restaurant at Ina and Thornydale roads where she worked.
If Doty dies, prosecutors will lose their chance to question him more fully about his involvement, and the possible involvement of others, in the murder of Hay.
A year-long investigation by the Marana Police Department resulted in first-degree murder charges being filed in April 2001 against Doty for killing the 50-year-old Hay.
The Pima County Attorney's Office withdrew the charges 13 months later citing a lack of evidence in the case.
Prosecutors have said they hope to refile the charge against Doty at a future date, but so far no new evidence has emerged.
"Marana police have not presented anything new to us. I know that they were going to be doing what they could to get some new evidence, but I haven't seen anything at this point in time," said Rick Unklesbay, chief criminal deputy county attorney.
"Basically, if leads come in (the detectives) handle it, but the case is just classified as open," said Sgt. Bill Derfus, an MPD spokesman.
Doty vehemently denies any involvement in the murder of Hay, much the same as he maintains he did not commit the two murders that have already placed him behind bars for the rest of his natural life.
He claims the "sect" he cobbled together from Satanism and white supremacist teachings has made him a scapegoat for murders in the Northwest area.
"People believe I've got this invisible empire out there. Basically, because of my getting arrested, anything I did have going at the time basically broke down. I really don't have anything out there. Because of my religion and politics, a lot of people are just going to automatically believe that I'm responsible for any crimes, and that's a serious inaccuracy as well," Doty said.
Doty was convicted last year of killing Grady Towers, a security guard who was shot while working at Tohono Chul Park. The park is located at Ina and Paseo del Norte about five miles east of the eegee's where Hay was slain. Towers was killed March 20, 2000, just six days before Hay was murdered.
Doty, a Marana native who attended Marana High School and Marana Middle School, was also convicted last year of first degree murder for the death of his friend Joseph McDowell. A car Doty was driving crashed and killed McDowell April 9, 2000, as the two tried to elude police.
In the course of the investigation of Hay's murder, prosecutors and police have alluded to the fact that more than one person may have been at the eegee's on the early Sunday morning when Hay was killed.
Even Doty said MPD detectives told him they believed more than one person participated in the killing.
"According to the statements that I got, there was reportedly a woman who was a delivery woman, I guess," Doty said. "My understanding was that there was a delivery being made and the woman had claimed to see two or possibly three individuals, but she couldn't say what was what."
Investigators have been reluctant to discuss specifics in the case, but court filings in Pima County Superior Court have given other indications that more than one person may have been involved in Hay's murder.
Prosecutors claim a surveillance camera located in a Walgreen's across the street from the eegee's captured the image of two men dressed in dark clothing and hats outside the drug store at 5:27 a.m., just minutes before Hay was killed.
MPD detectives used information from a cash register tape that Hay was processing before she was killed and the time the delivery driver discovered her body to place the time of Hay's death at between 5:53 and 6:04 a.m., according to court records.
The Northwest EXPLORER also interviewed two newspaper hawkers who claimed they saw two men in dark clothing and hats near the eegee's shortly before 6 a.m. Investigators claimed they recognized one of the figures in the video as Bryan Sicard, a friend and former prison cellmate of Doty's.
Investigators later seized Sicard's car and found dark clothing and a hat with an emblem similar to those seen on the Walgreen's video tape. They also noted Sicard had a distinctive walk that matched one of the men seen on the tape, according to court records.
Unklesbay said Sicard was interviewed by investigators but the evidence against him was weak at the time prosecutors dismissed the charges against Doty.
"Certainly evidence about that was known to us at the time of the dismissal, but at this point, we don't feel we have sufficient evidence to charge anyone with the crime. If we did, we would have done so," Unklesbay said.
In addition to the video evidence, police also sent samples of hair found at the eegee's and blood found on a plastic bag discovered among Doty's belongings to the state crime lab in Phoenix more than a year ago. Unklesbay refused to say whether the evidence collected tied either Doty or Sicard to the killing.
"At this point we have an unsolved homicide and the case is pending," Unklesbay said. "I wouldn't comment on a pending investigation or on where it's going or what the evidence is."
Doty claims the reason the charges against him were dropped was because the evidence could not be conclusively linked to anyone.
"They don't have any evidence or proof, circumstantial or otherwise, that I was responsible for that crime. They thought they had blood samples, they thought they had hair samples, they thought they had witnesses, but it all turned out to be nothing," he said.
Police found an unfired bullet on the floor of the eegee's that forensic investigators later matched to the .22 Ruger pistol used to kill Towers. Doty's attorney Richard Parish argued successfully that police could not prove the gun was in Doty's possession at the time the bullet was left at the scene of Hay's murder.
Prosecutors theorized in court filings that Hay's killer intended to shoot her, but the weapon jammed and the bullet was ejected from the gun as the killer tried to clear the pistol.
Sicard is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for possessing dangerous drugs, theft and other felonies. Arizona Department of Corrections records indicate he is scheduled to have his first parole eligibility hearing in July.
Doty describes Sicard, 24, as an "intelligent youngster" and a friend, but not a member of the sect he devised. He said he did not believe Sicard had any involvement in the Hay murder.
"Well, he is my partner, but he's not a member of my coven or an initiate into my beliefs. He's more toward the World Church and Paganistic views rather than mine," Doty said.
The World Church of the Creator is a vio lent, Wyoming-based white supremacist organization that views racism as a form of religion.
Prosecutors also draw a connection in the Hay case to another man, Nathan Paul Loman, who was a friend of Sicard's and who had worked as a manager of the eegee's where Hay was killed.
In court documents, prosecutors allege Loman had the key to the south door of the eegee's that was found open by the delivery driver who discovered Hay's body inside the restaurant.
"Loman did not have keys to the lower safe, but knew Hay did," prosecutors claimed in a court brief.
Loman could not be located for comment. He hung up on a Northwest EXPLORER reporter who phoned him seeking comment in December 2001.
Doty said the prospect of cancer has not changed his belief in the sect that he designed, but he believes he has lost touch with the followers he indoctrinated in prison and elsewhere.
"At one point in time there was just a small group of us, but that's been scattered. Given to what I understand talking to friends in the past out there on the street during my trial, there are people who claim to support my beliefs and all that, but basically right now it's just me," Doty said.
At least one of those former followers, Thomas Frumson, provided testimony that helped convict Doty for murdering Towers and gave investigators detailed information on the sect.
Prosecutors who sifted through more than 4,000 pages of Doty's writings that were seized as evidence claimed Doty believed the shedding of blood was a type of "human sacrifice" which imbued him with Satanic powers, according to court records.
Doty claims he is being persecuted for his beliefs.
"Basically my beliefs are Satanic," Doty said during the interview. "I draw from a wide variety of our, I guess you could say, cultural history and tradition. I also subscribe heavily to Anton LaVey's philosophy, a lot of the principals that he put forth … I also have a racial perspective on that because of the history. Satanism has been pretty much a European-originated belief system."
Anton LaVey, who died in 1997, founded the Church of Satan which claims more than 10,000 members worldwide.
One of the writings seized by police was a poem written by Doty titled "Shocker." Prosecutors have said the graphic description of a murder written the day after Hay was killed is in fact a bloody description of his knife attack on Hay. Doty denies the link.
"The poem itself was about a very, very violent altercation. That's basically all it is. It's just a lyric poem. That poem right there, you can go anywhere across the world and with any violent altercation you could claim that poem is linked to," Doty said.
Doty was reluctant to say how many people have ever belonged to his group or how many he thinks would be interested in renewing their affiliation once he returns to incarceration in Florence after his chemotherapy.
"I would have no way of knowing that because I don't have any way of contacting anybody. I pretty much shut down all my P.O. boxes and all my contact information because I was going to the jail and going through my cases and everything like that. So, until I get something set up, a P.O. box or going through another organization, I'm really not going to have any idea. I really can't say," Doty said.