A 13-year-old boy's conflicted testimony about a gun linked to two Northwest murders and a lack of evidence developed by Marana police has led prosecutors to withdraw a first degree murder charge against self-proclaimed "Aryan Satanist" Jason Doty for the death of a Marana fast food worker, Doty's attorney said.
The boy's testimony and alleged misconduct by prosecutors has also led defense attorney Robert Parrish to try and have Doty's first degree murder conviction for the death of Tohono Chul Park security guard Grady Towers tossed out.
Prosecutors May 29 withdrew the first degree murder charge against Doty for the death of Robin Hay, the 50-year-old assistant manager of an eegee's restaurant at Thornydale and Ina roads who was stabbed to death and nearly decapitated March 26, 2000 during an apparent robbery.
Dan Benevidez, a spokesman for the Pima County Attorney's Office, said prosecutors were looking to develop more evidence in the case and hope to refile the murder charge against Doty.
One day after the county withdrew the charge, Doty's defense attorneys took the deposition of a Picture Rocks boy who lived in a home where a handgun linked to the eegee's and Tohono Chul murders was allegedly found, according to court records.
Parrish said the interview of the boy has serious implications for both the eegee's and Tohono Chul murder cases.
"It's central to both cases. It's my opinion that the eegee's case has been dismissed because we finally got our fingers on (the boy) and the state realizes that it either has to come up with much more evidence or it better run," Parrish said.
Because of the boy's age and his pivotal role as a witness in the two murder cases, the Northwest EXPLORER is not disclosing his identity.
Prosecutors claim Doty left a .22 caliber Ruger pistol etched with "Aryan pictographs" on the barrel behind during a home invasion robbery of the boy's trailer home April 1, 2000.
Ballistic tests indicate the weapon fired the bullets that killed 55-year-old Towers during a burglary of the Tohono Chul Park gift shop at Ina and Oracle roads March 20, 2000.
Forensic tests also showed the same gun ejected a single unfired bullet that was found near Hay's body at the eegee's, prosecutor's have claimed in court filings.
The boy's father told Pima County Sheriff's Department Detective Warren Hock that he was struck on the back of the head and knocked unconscious during the robbery and never saw his assailant.
The father died of cancer before the Tower's case reached trial in January, but his statements, given to sheriff's department investigators, were ruled as admissible by the judge.
Several weapons, including a grenade launcher, were stolen after the attack, the man told detectives.
The boy's father said he believed an acquaintance, Joe McDowell, was responsible for the robbery, according to transcripts of the detective's interview.
"They have just been terrorizing the valley, pulling semiautomatic weapons on people and ripping them off and threatening them," the boy's father told detectives of McDowell and McDowell's friends, whom he couldn't specifically identify.
McDowell, 29, was killed April 9, 2000 when a car detectives claim was driven by Doty crashed after attempting to elude sheriff's deputies. Doty is also charged with first degree murder in McDowell's death.
"Have you ever heard of anybody by the name of Dowdy or Doty?" asked Hock during the April 1, 2000 interview.
"No, it rings a bell though, unless that was the person that was with Joe McDowell. It rings a bell, but I can't relate it to anything," the boy's father told Hock.
In an interview conducted shortly after his father's, the boy claimed he was awakened during the scuffle, became frightened and hid under some blankets until he fell asleep again. The boy said later in a sheriff's department interview he saw Joe McDowell in his home carrying a Mac 10 assault weapon outfitted with a silencer.
In a report after the interview, the detective said he doubted the boy had seen anything based on the description of his location in the home and the lighting.
The boy's father found a gun in the trailer after his interview with sheriff's detectives and showed it to a neighbor, Tom Doonan. Doonan told the boy's father, and later investigators, that he recognized the gun as one he had seen in the possession of Doty, according to sheriff's department interviews.
Strengthening the gun's link to Doty was a prosecution witness, Michael Boulier, who claimed that immediately after the robbery the boy ran to his trailer approximately three miles away and told him Doty had committed the crime, according to court records.
The testimony of Boulier, who was being held in Pima County Jail on charges unrelated to any of Doty's when he was interviewed by detectives, was later ruled as inadmissible evidence by Pima County Superior Court Judge Frank Dawley.
Without Boulier's testimony, placing Doty at the scene fell back upon the 13-year-old, Parrish said. And during the deposition after prosecutors dropped the murder charge in the Hay case, the boy's story changed.
"He had amnesia. He hardly could remember his name. It was very difficult to get answers out of him. He gave one version of events that conflicted with another witness, Michael Boulier, and I managed to prevent the state from using Boulier, because in my opinion, he was simply not telling the truth. But as to (the boy), he now claims that he can't remember a thing," Parrish said. "Because of the way the deposition went, we're going to pursue it further and attempt to depose him again, this time playing the tape recorded statement he made, rather than having him just read the statement."
The Sheriff's Department later forwarded the information gathered on the home invasion and the dropped gun to Marana investigators working the eegee's murder.
But unlike the Tohono Chul case, which had evidence that included boot prints that prosecutors successfully linked to Doty, little physical evidence was found at the scene, sources close to the investigation have said.
Prosecutors claim Doty's motivation for the murder of Towers was directly linked to his belief in "Aryan Satanism" and was designed to further his belief that he could "ignite a race war that would lead to world domination by Jason Doty and his Satanic Wermacht," according to court records.
Investigators have collected more than 4,000 pages of Doty's writings, many of which allegedly center on his racial and satanic beliefs, according to an evidence list filed as part of the court record.
Some of the writings submitted as evidence in Doty's trial for Tower's murder alluded to a need to establish a "war chest of money to foment the race war" and poems that prosecutors claim were a "confession" to the murders of Towers and Hay.
Marana police, who took more than a year to implicate Doty in the eegee's murder, have refused to say much about the case at all.
"We're in the process of collecting more evidence, but we can't elaborate because we don't want to jeopardize the investigation," MPD spokesman Bill Derfus said last week.
Parrish said he now plans to seek a new trial in the Tohono Chul case.
According to court filings, Parrish charged prosecutors improperly withheld their plans to call Boulier rather than the boy as a witness during the Grady Tower's case, and gave him inaccurate information about the boy's whereabouts.
"It seems that (the boy) was quite elusive. I don't want to comment too much further on that. That may be the subject of a great deal more litigation. But that's what the problem has been. He's a critical witness, and the state listed him as a witness in the Tohono Chul case all the way up to a couple days before trial, and even listed him as a witness on the sheet of prospective witnesses they gave to the judge that is read to the prospective jurors to see if any of them knows any of the witnesses," Parrish said.
According to the court record, Parrish filed a brief on April 10 asking the boy's attorney, Alice Milton to produce him for an interview.
The boy is reportedly living locally with his mother, Parrish said.
Milton, who did not return calls seeking comment, reportedly told Parrish's co-council Bobbi Berry "rather rudely that she would 'never' reveal where (the boy) lived and hung up the phone on Ms. Berry without further ado," according to the filing.
On May 6, Dawley ordered Milton to produce the boy for the deposition conducted last week.
"They had him that late in the case. And then all of a sudden, they say we're not going to call him (the boy), we're going to call Michael Boulier. That's when I exploded. He's a very critical witness and we couldn't find him. The Tohono Chul case was extremely unfair because of what happened, and I will move to set aside that verdict and get a new trial," Parrish said.