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

No death penalty, but life in prison awaits Murry

Roy Murry enters the courtroom, Dec. 14, 2016, to hear a guilty verdict in the triple murder of the ex-wifes family. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Convicted killer Roy H. Murry will not face the death penalty. But barring a successful appeal, the gun-loving Iraq War veteran will never again walk free.

Murry, who was convicted last month, will appear Thursday before Superior Court Judge John O. Cooney, who has little to decide when he presides over an opportunity for the family members of the victims to explain the pain the killings caused.

That’s because Murry’s three convictions for aggravated murder already carry automatic sentences of life without the possibility of parole.

Murry also will be given a chance to speak.

Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell said he did not seek the death penalty because of the nature of the case, which had little direct evidence linking Murry to the killing of Terry Canfield, 59; Lisa Canfield, 52; and 23-year-old John Constable.

The three victims were the mother, brother and stepfather of Murry’s estranged wife, Amanda Constable. The family was found shot to death and charred in a fire May 26, 2015, in their Colbert home.

On May 25, 2015, Murry brought up divorce for the first time with Amanda Constable. Just hours later, investigators believe he approached the Colbert home and turned off a breaker switch to lure Terry Canfield, a longtime Spokane firefighter, out of the home.

After killing Canfield, they believe Murry went into the home and shot John Constable before moving into the back bedroom where he shot Lisa Canfield 12 times. They believe Murry waited about two hours for Amanda Constable to arrive before setting the house on fire to cover his crimes.

A registered nurse, Amanda Constable worked four hours of overtime that night and arrived home to find emergency crews fighting the two fires.

However, investigators were never able to find a witness or evidence linking Murry to the scene, other than a few molecules on the shell casings that were similar to a unique gun lubricant that was found in a vial in Murry’s car.

“We looked at all the factors and decided we would go with life without parole, which is the alternative to death,” Haskell said. “But I am not opposed to the idea of the death penalty.”

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee instituted a moratorium on the death penalty in February 2014. But Haskell said that had no bearing on his decision.

“If you look at this from the standpoint of the typical time frame for the appellate process to run, it’s highly likely there would be a new governor by the time we get to that point,” Haskell said. “So, I didn’t let that influence my decision.”

Judge Cooney has scheduled a half day of court time to accommodate all of the friends and family of the victims to have their say.

“This is a small measure that has been given relative to what their loss has been,” Haskell said. “My hope is that they begin to heal and that they stay together.”