By Linda Kor
An Eagar man is once again heading to trial for the murder of two Apache County men as an appellate court decision is upheld to overturn the ruling of an Apache Court Superior judge that freed the man.
Joseph Roberts, 25, was accused of assisting self-proclaimed serial killer William Inmon in the 2007 murder of William “Stoney” McCarragher and the 2009 murder of Daniel Achten. Inmon also confessed to the murder of 16-year-old Ricky Flores in 2009. Roberts was charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, theft of a means of transportation, mutilating a human body, concealment of a dead body, tampering with physical evidence and hindering prosecution relating to the murders of McCarragher and Achten.
In January 2011 Roberts became a free man before he ever went to trial after Apache County Superior Court Judge Donna Grimsley supported the claim by Robert’s attorney that investigators with the Apache County Attorney’s Office violated his client’s rights. The accusation came after investigators Brian Hounshell and Jerry Jaramillo met with Roberts at the jail in February 2010 without the presence of legal counsel. At the time Grimsley dismissed the charges with prejudice, meaning that Roberts could not be tried for the same crimes.
An appellate court ruling last year reversed that decision, finding that no legally impermissible advantage to the prosecution or disadvantage to the defendant resulted from Apache County’s conduct. Late last month, the state Supreme Court declined a petition to review that decision. Roberts did not seek reconsideration. Roberts will be tried on the original charges by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Apache County Superior Court.
Roberts is currently free and no court dates have been scheduled.
By Linda Kor