SALT LAKE CITY — The man charged with Tuesday's fatal shooting of a Utah sheriff's deputy had just sold drugs to a relative of the slain officer on a remote desert road, according to court papers.
Roberto Miramontes Roman was charged about 10 hours after the shooting with capital murder and tampering with evidence. A manhunt led authorities to a west Salt Lake City neighborhood, where police believe they saw him run from a house and disappear.
Roman, 37, is accused of leaving deputy Josie Greathouse Fox dead from a gunshot wound after a traffic stop near Delta, about 130 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. If caught and convicted on the murder charge, Roman could face the death penalty.
Roman had just sold drugs to Ryan Greathouse, according to 4th District Court papers. Greathouse is a relatives of Greathouse Fox, a Millard County sheriff's office spokeswoman told The Associated Press. Lindsay Mitchell declined, however, to specify the relationship.
Less than hour before the shooting, another deputy saw two cars meet on a dirt road. One of the cars was traced back to Ryan Greathouse, who told deputies he bought drugs from Roman and another man during the encounter.
Greathouse also provided police with Roman's cell phone number and identified him from a photograph, court papers say. Detectives later traced a signal from Roman's cell phone to a tower along Interstate 15 in Salt Lake County.
Police converged on a home in Salt Lake City where Roman is believed to have relatives, but nobody was found inside the house, a shed or a trailer after an hourslong standoff.
City police seized an orange Corvette at the residence. Court papers say the car's license plates were bolted earlier Tuesday to a gray Cadillac seen by Millard County Sgt. Rhett Kimball during the alleged desert drug transaction.
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Kimball had radioed Greathouse Fox to stop the Cadillac as it headed toward Delta on state Route 50 about 1 a.m. Tuesday. Nine minutes later, Kimball found Greathouse Fox dead on the highway, court papers say.