In July, jurors convicted Jonathan Doody, nineteen, of a mass murder that shook the international Buddhist community. In 1991, six Thai monks, a nun, a monk-in-training, and a temple helper were shot execution-style at Wat Promkunaram temple in the Arizona desert twenty-five miles west of downtown Phoenix. The conviction was made partly on the basis of testimony from Doody’s eighteen-year-old codefendant, Alessandro “Alex” Garcia, who struck a deal with prosecutors for life imprisonment in exchange for his cooperation.
Robbery was the motive for the crime, which netted the killers $2,790 and some photographic equipment. Doody, a military enthusiast whose Thai mother is a temple member and whose brother lived at the temple for two months preceding the slayings, ordered that there be no witnesses, Garcia told jurors.
In August, Buddhist dignitaries from around the globe gathered at the temple to mark the second anniversary of the killings. The ashes of the six monks were interred in a permanent monument, and blessings were bestowed on the base of what will become a community center for the congregation.
“We must remember we gather not to think of revenge,” Walpola Piyananda, head of a Los Angeles temple, told those assembled.
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