The Buddhist Temple Execution
Among the fatalities was a 71 year old num, Foy Sripanpiaserf, who was the grandmother of the youngest murder victim, Matthew Miller. Miller was 16 years old, a novice monk, and a high school student. Some of the other victims included a high priest and a 21 year old acolyte. Authorities said that there were no signs of struggle or resistance. Only two small rooms appeared to have been disheveled with the temple area and main rooms looking as if they were untouched, leaving no motive for the murders.
To get some sort of clues about who would commit such a heinous act of violence, they found some strange evidence in and around the crime scene. In the middle of the bodies was an ashtray filled with remains of a fire that appeared to be put out with a couple of extinguishers. The monks didn’t smoke so they figured that this act was just done out of shear sick pleasure. A pile of keys was found on a table, the word “bloods” was carved in a wall, shell casings from a 20-gauge shotgun, as well as more casings from other types of shot guns. They figured the keys were probably used to locate a safe and with more than one type of casing found at the crime scene, it would appear that more than one person enacted the killings.
Who would carry out this extremely violent crime on a group of monks in their temple while they were praying? On August 20th, during a standard traffic stop, the Luke Air Force Base officer noticed a rifle lying on the passenger side of a car driven by 17 year old Rolando Caratachea. Behind Caratachea’s car was another driven by 16 year old Jonathan Doody, who was of Thai descent, and was also pulled over for “suspicious activity.” The boys were stopped the next day but this time they were together in the same car. The officer inquired where the rifle was at and Caratachea said that it was in his car parked at Doody’s house. They found the rifle somewhat hidden and by law had to report it to the sheriff deputy. The boys were found to have no record so the rifle was returned back to them.
It would be a month later that the Office of Special Investigations heard about the incident and check police records and issued a warrant to take hold of the rifle. No assessment was done on the rifle right away. Instead it was put in evidence with about 80 other rifles that were also confiscated for testing. It wouldn’t be until October 24th when investigators got a break in the case. The weapon that was retrieved from Caratachea’s car, .22 caliber semiautomatic Marlin rifle, proved to be a match with the bullet casings found in the temple. Upon further examination of the place, they found a 20-gauge Stevens shotgun which match the casings, presenting the investigators both weapons. The search also turned up two knives, a camouflage hat, two facemasks, and gloves leading them to believe that the motive was robbery. Another theory for the murders was that it could have been some sick desire to play war that the boys decided to carry out.
In typical fashion, they made different statements about the killing, each saying that it was the other guy’s idea and they pulled the trigger, killing all nine victims. Doody acting all innocent said that it was a large gang he was with and was outside when all the shooting started. He didn’t know why they had all those weapons and thought there were at the temple as a “challenge” to beat the sensor alarm for the building. He went on to say that his family was in danger of being hurt by these men. A judge didn’t buy the stories and said that the boys would be tried as adults with the maximum penalty of death.