Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods


The Good and the Bad


It began as a plan for a robbery, Alessandro Garcia admitted in his long and self-serving statement to police. He and Jonathan Doody had plotted it for two months after hearing from Jonathans brother about the solid gold Buddha and the safe that contained $2000. The Buddhists monks at the temple west of Phoenix, Arizona near Luke Air Force base also kept money under their mattresses. It seemed like easy pickings, and to build their courage, they turned their "mission" into a "war game."

They purchased military clothing and harnesses with knives, then borrowed a rifle and 20-guage shotgun. Late in the evening of August 9, 1991, they drove to the temple in Doody's 1983 Ford Mustang. They checked it out and then left, returning around 15 minutes later. Then they burst in and ordered the monks to the floor. They arranged them in a circle, kneeling and facing one another, and for the next hour they took turns holding them at gunpoint and ransacking the place. The monks had offered no resistance. At one point, a nun came in and she was forced to join the men.

They placed what they took into two military duffel bags. The temple did have a safe but they couldn't find a key to get it open. Doody wanted to ensure there would be no witnesses, and that meant killing everyone there. Standing on a couch above the monks, he just began shooting them, shooting them in the back of the head. He went from one to another, and if the first shot appeared not to have killed the victim, he'd shoot again. In the end, nine people lay dead in a circle. Garcia used the back of a knife to carve the word "Bloods" on the wall in the hallway, hoping to deflect the police, and together they sprayed the place with fire extinguishers.

It took almost two months, but the military police spotted the rifle and it was confiscated for testing. They had a match, and a link to a killer: Jonathan Doody. He lived with Garcia and a search of their apartment turned up the shotgun.

Apparently Garcia told his girlfriend afterward that there were more people involved than just him and Doody. She didn't know how many but she remembered him saying that there were "a whole bunch of us." Police tried to pin the crimes on four men from Tucson, from whom they had gotten coerced confessions, but all the evidence pointed to only two offenders: Doody and Garcia. They had the murder weapons. Their little war game had turned into a deadly escapade that had horrified a peaceful community and created an international incident with the Thai government. No one could quite believe that two boys, 16 and 17, had just slaughtered people as they knelt and awaited their fate.

In July 12, 1993, Jonathan Doody was convicted of nine murders and sentenced to 281 years in prison. Although the prosecutor had sought the death penalty, the judge felt that it could not be determined which young man had actually used the rifle, so he was cautious. Alessandro Garcia was sentenced to 271 years in prison, the maximum possible under his plea agreement. He had turned on his friend, but it hadn't gotten him muchprobably because a month after the Buddhist Temple murders, Garcia had persuaded his 14-year-old girlfriend to help him murder a woman out camping. While Doody appeared to be the mastermind, Garcia was clearly a psychopath.

In many ways, their cold-blooded approach to harming people just to prove something mirrored that of one of the most famous tag-team thrill kills in America.



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