Whisked into the courtroom early so she wouldn’t have to walk past the man charged with killing three members of her family, Amanda Constable cried Tuesday as she waited on the witness stand.
Finally, the six-person security crew walked Roy H. Murry to the table. Constable, who finalized her divorce from Murry just days ago, collected herself and looked up, down and left, avoiding eye contact with the man prosecutors claim laid in wait to kill her on May 26, 2015.
Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell started his questions with basic inquiries, and Constable answered with single-word responses. He moved on to questions about her family and how she came to know Murry.
“What did you think of Mr. Murry?” Haskell asked.
“That he was cute,” she replied.
But his problems with her family started immediately. Constable explained that the night Roy Murry met her parents at a big birthday party at Stateline, Idaho, things went sideways.
Apparently trying to break the ice, Amanda’s mother, Lisa Canfield, put her foot behind Murry and playfully tried to push him over. “He put her in a head lock,” Constable said. “He said he just reacted when he felt threatened.”
Eventually, the family got used to the tall, awkward, gun-loving war veteran who would make everybody feel uncomfortable by talking about the impending fall of the government.
Then on Dec. 31, 2010, Murry pulled out a big box. It contained two rings. One fell out. When he bent over to pick it up, he went down on a knee and popped the big question to Constable.
“He was very goal-driven and very hopeful,” she said. “He just had big dreams.”
They married on Aug. 31, 2013, in a Pullman park. But as the young couple struggled to finish school and find steady employment, Constable often found herself caught in the middle, between Murry’s extreme views and those who didn’t share them.
“I would try to buffer his jokes or make excuses for them being inappropriate,” she said. “He had very strong opinions. He felt the government would eventually fall and that preparations were needed to come out on the right side of that.”
Constable grew up in a family that camped, fished, hunted, picked huckleberries and went on nature drives just to see animals. As a result, she became comfortable and proficient with shotguns and rifles.
But she’d never seen anything like the arsenal Murry would bring into her home.
“Things kind of came and went: guns, body armor, magazines, vests you put equipment on, tactical gear, goggles, gloves, gun cleaning supplies.”
Murry had camping equipment, but the outdoors meant something different to him.
“We went camping one time,” Constable said. “It was like practice if you ever had to survive.”
She tried to hang out with Murry’s friends, who had a network set up with supply caches at certain locations as they prepared for the inevitable fall of society.
Murry trained many of them to shoot and they practiced clearing houses. “I was the one who would hide in the house. I played the bad guy,” Constable said.
He took her to a four-day boot camp in Nevada where she learned the finer arts of using a hand gun while Murry practiced close-quarter combat.
“Any ammunition that wasn’t just for target practice, he wouldn’t touch,” she said, adding that he didn’t want to leave any finger prints or DNA behind. “He wanted to be able to leave the scene: shoot and scoot.”
Constable will return to the witness stand Wednesday.
Spokane County Sherriff’s detective Kirk Keyser testified about searches of Murry’s apartment in Lewiston, a storage unit in Pullman, his parent’s home in Walla Walla and his car.
In his car alone, Murry had about 30 magazines for an AR-15. Every location they searched, investigators found various kinds of ammunition, much of it .22 caliber, which was the kind of gun used to kill Terry and Lisa Canfield and John Constable.
After detectives arrested Murry on May 30, 2015, they obtained a warrant for his Lewiston apartment. The next day, Keyser said they sent a couple detectives, the bomb squad, the sheriff’s SWAT team, a couple of federal agents, a few forensic evidence collectors and Lewiston Police officers.
The bomb squad checked under the door and windows for booby traps. None were found. But Keyser trucked out photo after photo of ammunition, guns, and military-style equipment.
They even found a box of .22 ammunition in the bottom of a plastic cup full of pens that was on a bookshelf.
Also in the home, they found several areas that tested positive for human blood or DNA. But all the tests excluded any DNA from the three victims. Murry couldn’t be included or excluded as a contributor, either.
In the garbage outside the home, Keyser found a “Just Married” photo of Roy and Amanda Murry which had recently been discarded.
“In this case,” Keyser said, “I had more items tested than any other case in Spokane County history that I’m aware of.”
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