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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ex-wife testifies in triple-slaying trial; DNA evidence not linked to suspect

Triple-homicide defendant Roy Murry enters the courtroom under heavy guard at the Spokane County Courthouse. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Four hours later than normal, Amanda Constable’s gray Nissan Sentra crested the hill on East Chattaroy Road in the early hours of May 26, 2015, when she first saw the smoke and emergency lights.

“I hoped it was a car in front of the house that was on fire,” she said as her face melted to tears. “I knew that it was my house on fire and my family was there.”

A deputy met Constable and walked her to an ambulance as the life she knew burned down around her.

“The first thing they told me was that they had found a female body,” Constable said. “I found out more as they found more.”

Constable, the recent ex-wife of Roy H. Murry, testified most of the day Wednesday and laid bare her relationship and marriage to Murry that soured, turned positively weird and then ended with the slayings of her mother, brother and stepfather.

The charred remains of Lisa Canfield, John Constable and Terrance “Terry” Canfield quickly turned the fire into what the lead detective has called the largest forensic investigation in Spokane County history.

Investigators began to focus on Murry, a 31-year-old Iraq war veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. He is a gun enthusiast, a conspiracy believer who told anyone he met that the government would fall at any time.

The prosecution of Murry has shown his proclivity to weapons and paranoia – a quirky and dangerous mix with ready access to a small arsenal of guns and ammunition. Investigators have no witnesses to the killings. No confession. No murder weapon. No concrete evidence linking Murry to the killings.

Forensic specialists did find male DNA on a flare cap, gas spout and under the fingernails of Lisa Constable at the crime scene. None has been directly linked to Murry.

The most damning testimony to date has come from Constable, who investigators say was Murry’s target that night. But she worked several hours of overtime at her job as a nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Constable told jurors that throughout her relationship with Murry, he kept a list of those people who betrayed him.

Murry told Constable that he would kill anyone on that list “if the government collapsed and it was a free-for-all … or if he could somehow get away with it,” she testified.

Defense attorney Jill Gannon-Nagle, who unsuccessfully argued to keep jurors from hearing testimony regarding the list, asked Constable about whether she had seen a written copy of the list. Constable acknowledged she had not.

In questioning Constable, Gannon-Nagle suggested if Murry put her family on his list, she would have remembered it.

Constable agreed.

Asked if Murry put her on the list, Constable replied: “Why would he tell me if I’m on the list? I felt like I knew him well enough that he wasn’t going to do anything up until 2015 when I could not predict his behavior.”

That behavior, she said, led her to seek a formal separation following a trip to Bend, Oregon, a couple of months prior to the killings.

While in Bend “he was watching his surroundings. The traffic pattern was meant to communicate something to him,” Constable said. “He said he had had contact with an operative. He was doing something that involved the Russian secret service and the CIA.”

Murry also talked about aliens. He said “they were frequently coming to the world and certain people were hybrids. He was pointing out landing areas” on the drive back from Bend, she said. “The delusions of aliens he talked about left me not knowing what he might do next. I couldn’t read him.”

Constable then told Murry that she wanted a legal separation.

In April 2015, Murry arrived at the Chattaroy Road home in Colbert and spoke to Constable and Lisa Canfield to tell them about the job he had been doing.

“It involved aliens and Russians,” Constable said. “He discussed that he was some special kind of person and he could shape-shift. The way he described it was he could turn into an animal. It was a pretty out-there conversation.”

Then on May 25, 2015, she and Murry spoke and he brought up the possibility of divorce.

“I felt like in order for it not to be a situation where I was betraying him” she needed Murry to seek the divorce, she said. “He valued that trust and loyalty so much; I didn’t know what would happen if he thought it was gone.”

But Murry was willing to talk about the breakup of their marriage. “He said, ‘I know the trust just isn’t there, and we can’t rebuild it from here,’ ” Constable said. “It was upbeat. The context of the conversation was very friendly. I said, ‘OK. Let’s do it.’ ”

Constable told Murry she had to end the conversation so she could go to work. Murry told her that he hoped that she, her family and a friend were well.

Murry ended the conversation, just hours before the killings, with “C’est la vie.”