Arizona man found guilty in quintuple murder

August 29, 2011 - 9:35 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona man was found guilty on Monday of five counts of murder and other charges in the 2006 killings of an extended family of five.

A Maricopa County Superior Court returned the verdict against 34-year-old William Craig Miller on Monday after less than two full days of deliberations. In addition to five counts of first-degree murder, the jury found Miller guilty of four counts of solicitation of first-degree murder and one count of burglary.

Miller was convicted of fatally shooting 30-year-old Steven Duffy and Duffy's girlfriend, 32-year-old Tammy Lovell, in their east Mesa home on Feb. 21, 2006. Both were former employees of Miller's who were police informants against him in a 2005 arson case.

Also killed were Duffy's brother, 18-year-old Shane Duffy, and Lovell's children — 15-year-old Cassandra and 10-year-old Jacob.

Monday's conviction means Miller now faces the death penalty. Miller already is serving a 16-year prison term after being convicted in March of burning down his Scottsdale home to collect insurance money.

"Today's verdict finally brings a measure of justice to a shockingly brutal crime that stunned the entire community," Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a statement. "Now we move forward in pursuit of a just punishment."

Prosecutors will begin making arguments for the death penalty in court on Tuesday.

Miller's attorneys called no witnesses to the stand to testify on his behalf during the trial.

The Arizona Republic reported that in her opening statements, prosecutor Kristen Hoffmeyer described Miller as an "arrogant braggart" who at first tried to hire four men to carry out the killings but ended up acting alone when they wouldn't cooperate.

"He eliminated them as witnesses, and he eliminated their family because there was to be no witnesses left," Hoffmeyer said.

Hoffmeyer showed graphic photos of the crime scene, prompting the victims' family members to cry in court. Miller declined to attend the trial.

In his opening statement, the Republic said that defense attorney Eric Kessler urged jurors to keep an open mind.

"Things are not always as they seem," Kessler had said.