SALT LAKE CITY – Roberto Miramontes Roman, 44, an armed drug dealer who boasted he would kill a law enforcement officer to stay out of jail, will serve life plus 80 years in federal prison for killing a deputy sheriff in Millard County during a traffic stop in 2010 . U.S. District Chief Judge David Nuffer imposed the sentence Thursday morning in Salt Lake City. Roman was in the country illegally. He reentered the country illegally after having been previously convicted of felony drug offenses and deported.
“Deputy Sheriff Fox sacrificed her life trying to keep our country safe, and we must never forget that. I am grateful to the investigators and prosecutors who brought her killer to justice no matter how long it took. This case also demonstrates that we must enforce the rule of law along our southwest border, and confront the scourge of drug trafficking,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “During this National Police Week, and every day of the year, we must continue to stand behind our brave law enforcement officers, who do a dangerous job day in and day out.”
“An illegal-alien drug dealer, who killed a deputy sheriff to avoid prosecution for federal offenses, is a threat to our communities that cannot be overstated,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said. “The United States Attorney’s Office will use every resource at our disposal to protect and deliver justice for those who honorably serve as law enforcement officers in our state. These crimes clearly merit the lifetime of imprisonment imposed by Chief Judge Nuffer today, and will ensure this defendant will never again have the opportunity to victimize our communities. Deputy Josie Greathouse Fox faithfully and bravely performed her law enforcement duties. During this National Police Week and always, may we remember her and others like her who have offered the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf.”
“Several organizations worked tirelessly to achieve justice for Deputy Fox. It is immensely satisfying to know that ATF could help put her killer behind bars for the remainder of his life,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Debora Livingston. “Although today’s sentence cannot possibly fill the hole left by Deputy Josie Fox’s senseless death, I sincerely wish her family, friends, and colleague can find peace and resolution going forward.”
“The sentencing today of Roberto Roman for the murder of Josie Greathouse Fox and related crimes comes at the end of a taxing seven-year journey. Throughout all of these years, our thoughts have never turned from her, her family, or her community. None of us will ever be completely the same,” Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said. “First and foremost, we recognize this justice as justice served for Josie. We are extremely grateful to the United States Attorney’s Office and the federal prosecution team that so diligently chose to task themselves with this labor of respect and professionalism. The long-sought closing of this chapter now provides for more peaceful recollections of our time together with Josie. She will never be forgotten.”
Millard County Deputy Sheriff Josie Greathouse Fox stopped Roman on a rural road in Millard County for suspicion of drug trafficking on Jan. 5, 2010. He had just sold methamphetamine and was armed with a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle. To avoid apprehension, Roman shot and killed Deputy Fox. She is the first female law enforcement officer in Utah to be killed in the line of duty.
A federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment in September 2013 charging Roman with three drug trafficking crimes, intentionally killing a local law enforcement officer to avoid apprehension for a felony drug crime, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, two counts of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense, and one count of use, carry and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Roman was also charged with possession of firearms by a restricted person, possession of firearms by a person unlawfully in the United States and illegally reentering the country after a previous deportation.
Prior to trial, Roman elected to plead guilty to possession of firearms by a restricted person, possession of firearms by a person unlawfully in the United States and illegally reentering the country after a previous deportation. A jury found him guilty of the remaining eight counts following a trial earlier this year.
Roman faced a guideline range of life imprisonment for intentionally killing a local law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of her official duties. He also faced consecutive mandatory minimum sentences totaling 80 years for the four charges involving possession of or carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and use, carry, and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Based on the aggravating circumstances of this case, federal prosecutors recommended Chief Judge Nuffer impose the maximum sentence authorized by law.
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office and special agents of the ATF. The Millard County Sheriff’s Office also contributed to the investigation.