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Triple murderer Roy Murry gets three life sentences plus 35 years for killing family

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 12, 2017

Roy H. Murry is led out of court after being sentenced for the triple murder of his ex-wife’s family on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at Spokane County Court in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Roy H. Murry is led out of court after being sentenced for the triple murder of his ex-wife’s family on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, at Spokane County Court in Spokane, Wash. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Convicted killer Roy H. Murry provided no explanation Thursday as to why he gunned down three members of his ex-wife’s family and set fire to their bodies, an attack that prompted a judge to sentence him to three consecutive life sentences, plus 35 years.

Family members took turns telling Superior Court Judge John O. Cooney of the pain, fear and devastation Murry caused when he swept through the Colbert home and killed Terry Canfield, 59; Lisa Canfield, 52; and her son, John Constable, 23.

Murry, 31, stared forward and only answered, “No, your honor,” when the judge asked whether he wished to make a statement.

Amanda Constable, who was separated from Murry at the time of the killings, explained her difficulties in writing a letter to explain the pain and havoc the murders caused her. She arrived at the Colbert home just hours after her mother, little brother and stepfather were killed.

“I was nearly killed myself when my home was destroyed,” she said. “Major parts of my life are gone. I will have to go on without the very people who I would have depended on to help me through life’s struggles, which seems to have been an objective in these crimes.”

Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell told the jury that after killing Terry Canfield, a 28-year member of the Spokane Fire Department, and Amanda’s mother and brother, Murry waited for Amanda Constable to come home to finish the job.

But she worked a four-hour overtime shift and arrived home in the early hours of May 26, 2015, to find her life in ruins.

Amanda Constable spoke of how the family wondered “if the monster was just around the next corner” and her fears for the future if Murry ever left prison.

“If he ever were to be let out, I have every confidence that he would cause incredible harm. He has shown no remorse,” she told Cooney. “Please do not ever allow him to hurt again.”

In the gallery was the jury forewoman who delivered guilty verdicts to multiple charges on Dec. 14. The jury forewoman declined a request to be interviewed.

Ryan Constable, who is the twin brother of John Constable, talked about how after the killings he felt compelled to arm himself with a gun in his own home to guard against another attack.

“The event left me homeless, lost without income or an ability to work,” Constable said. “I tried right up until to the very point that I heard the verdict not to believe that someone that we let so close into our lives and trust could ever do something so hurtful to us.”

Despite the four-week trial, Ryan Constable said the family still doesn’t know what happened. “But I know that as long as (Murry) is behind bars, that it won’t happen again.”

Spokane County Public Defender Tom Krzyminski said he understood the pain the killings caused. He was the only person to speak on behalf of Murry.

“The verdict of guilty has not changed my belief in my client’s innocence,” Krzyminski said. “I don’t believe I am talking about a person who took the lives of three people.”

The defense attorney repeated the testimony at trial that Murry had suffered emotional and physical harm during his service in the Iraq War.

“We train our young men and women to go to war and then we use that experience against them,” he said. “How ironic.”

Murry has 30 days to file an appeal. Barring a successful argument, he will die in prison.

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