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NEPHI -- A man facing criminal charges for helping a friend suspected of killing a Millard County deputy sheriff elude authorities was found guilty on three counts but innocent on two others in 4th District Court.
A five-woman, four-man jury deliberated just more than six hours Thursday before finding Ruben Chavez-Reyes guilty of obstruction of justice and burglary of a non-dwelling -- both second-degree felonies -- and evidence tampering -- a third-degree felony. The jury acquitted him of possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and burglary of dwelling -- third-degree felonies.
Chavez-Reyes, 37, will be sentenced Oct. 29 in Fillmore.
Millard County sheriff's deputy Josie Greathouse Fox was gunned down Jan. 5 while making a traffic stop of a suspected burglar who was driving on U.S. 50 in Millard County. Roberto Miramontes Roman is charged with capital murder in the case. He reportedly told police he shot Fox with an AK-47 because he thought she pulled him over simply for being Mexican.
Prosecutors painted Chavez-Reyes as a loyal friend to Roman who was willing to help him get away with murder. The defense described him as a good person who was reluctant to help his friend and who didn't find out until later that a police officer had been killed.
Chavez-Reyes told police that he spent the night before the shooting at his Fillmore apartment with Roman watching videos, smoking meth and handling Roman's AK-47 rifle. He told police that Roman called him and convinced him to give him a ride because his car was stuck in a snow bank west of Nephi.
Chavez-Reyes told police that it wasn't until they arrived at Roman's cousin's house in Salt Lake City that Roman told him that he'd "broke a cop," which he took to mean he had killed a police officer. At one point, Chavez-Reyes destroyed his cell phone so police couldn't track their movements.
The two men later tried to hire a driver to take them to Los Angeles but lacked the money. They paid to go as far as Beaver, where they ended up hiding in a shed in a mobile home park where a friend of Roman lives. A resident discovered them in the shed the next morning and called police. They were apprehended without incident.
Judge Donald J. Eyre moved the trial from Millard County to neighboring Juab County at the defense's request.