Iraq War Vet Charged With Premeditated Murder in Deaths of Relatives

This February 2011 photo shows decorated Iraq War veteran Roy Murry. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review, via AP
This February 2011 photo shows decorated Iraq War veteran Roy Murry. Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review, via AP

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A decorated Iraq War veteran arrested in the deaths of his estranged wife's mother, stepfather and brother was charged Tuesday with three counts of premeditated first-degree murder with aggravating circumstances.

The charges mean Roy H. Murry, 30, might face the death penalty, Spokane County prosecutor Larry Haskell said. "At this point in time, every option is on the table," Haskell said after the hearing.

Murry did not enter a plea during his first court appearance. He appeared on video under heavy guard from the Spokane County Jail.

Spokane County District Court Judge Vance Peterson set bail of $3 million, which Murry's public defender did not contest.

Murry's case will be transferred to Superior Court, where more serious crimes are heard, within the next 30 days, Haskell said. His next court appearance was set for June 29.

Amanda Murry has told law enforcement officers that her husband blamed her family for the couple's marital woes. She also told authorities that Roy, from Lewiston, Idaho, suffered from post-traumatic stress from his service in Iraq and was becoming increasingly delusional, according to court documents.

Roy Murry earned a Bronze Star for valor as an Army National Guard sergeant in Iraq, where he was severely injured by a bomb. He has had an escalating series of run-ins with law enforcement officers involving weapons since his return from the war.

Murry surrendered to authorities on Saturday, four days after the home of his wife's family was set on fire near Chattaroy, which is a few miles north of Spokane.

The three bodies were found with numerous gunshot wounds on the rural property.

Amanda Murry was working late in her job as a nurse when the shootings occurred. She told investigators that she had moved in with her mother, stepfather and brother in December and wanted a divorce.

Investigators found the body of Lisa Canfield, 52, on a bedroom floor, gagged and with numerous cuts to her body. The body of her son John Constable, 23, also was found in the house.

The body of Lisa's husband, Terrance Canfield, 58, a lieutenant with the Spokane Fire Department, was found in a burning barn on the property.

Amanda Murry has said her husband owned numerous firearms.

Police recovered a .22-caliber pistol in Roy Murry's car with an empty magazine, according to court documents.

In 2011, the Spokane County Republican Party named Murry as one of three nominees to fill a state Senate seat, despite his lack of political experience and a brush with the law. A year earlier, he had forfeited bail on a charge of possessing an illegal switchblade knife. County commissioners did not select him for the state Senate position.

Just days after Murry was nominated as a candidate for the Senate post, he was arrested in Las Vegas on a firearms charge. Later in 2011, Murry was arrested after he carried a loaded gun into a veterans hospital in Walla Walla.

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