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Mon, March 25

Jury finds Roy guilty of murder

Michael Lee Roy

Michael Lee Roy

PRESCOTT ­ Twelve jurors agreed on Thursday that Michael Lee Roy is responsible for the November 2000 death of Mark Anthony at the Granite Creek Park bathroom.

After a full day of deliberations on Wednesday, the jury found Roy guilty of first-degree premeditated murder shortly after 10 a.m. on Thursday.

The judge, the prosecutor, the defense attorney and the case investigator agreed that the jury took time to consider all of the facts before making a unanimous decision.

"You are one of the hardest-working juries I've ever had," Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Thomas Lindberg told the jurors before he scheduled Roy's sentencing for 3 p.m. on May 7.

Anthony died after suffering three blows to his head in the park's bathroom. Police say Anthony would go to the park to solicit other men for sex. Police officers investigated the case, but were unable to obtain any physical evidence other than the victim's blood.

The case went cold for four years, but the Prescott Police's newly established Cold Case Unit tracked Roy down in custody in Bellingham, Wash. Roy confessed to killing Anthony to undercover Seattle Police Department detectives.

That confession, along with two others he made to two inmates on separate occasions, prompted a first-degree premeditated murder charge.

The jury declined to comment on the verdict, but Prescott Detective Anna Cahall said two of the jurors told her that Roy's confessions pointed them toward the guilty verdict despite the lack of physical evidence in the state's case.

"The admissions he made, they really believed them," Cahall said.

She said she knew that the jury might struggle because the case was 6 years old, the state lacked physical evidence and the witnesses were likely not to remember all of the details, as they would have shortly after the incident. However, Cahall said, Roy's confessions were too incriminating to ignore.

Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Steve Young said it was a difficult case given the lack of physical evidence, but the jury took it to heart and reached the right decision.

"This is the man who committed the vicious murder," Young said. "Justice for Mark Anthony has been finally served."

Roy's attorney, Robert Gundacker, said that it wouldn't surprise him if the verdict went either direction because the defense had three confessions to deal with and the state had no physical evidence.

"You never know how a jury is going to see it," Gundacker said.

Roy faces life in prison without the possibility for parole.

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