CEDAR CITY, Utah — A Cedar City man was found guilty of murder Thursday in the shooting deaths of his girlfriend and another man at his southern Utah home.
Prosecutors said Thad Robertson was high on methamphetamine and jealous in 2013 when he fatally shot on-again-off-again girlfriend Diann Bailey, 59, and Jeffery Lane Hardy, 52.
"He was a jealous, paranoid boyfriend," said Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett.
His defense attorney maintained there was no proof that Robertson meant to shoot the pair, according to The Spectrum newspaper in St. George (http://bit.ly/1M8OhoX ).
A jury deliberated for about two hours before convicting Robertson of two counts of aggravated murder, and three drug and weapons charges. He faces 25 years to life in prison on each aggravated murder charge at a sentencing hearing set for Aug. 7.
The trial opened Monday as prosecutors played a taped statement that Robertson gave police after the shooting. He told an investigator that he smoked meth with Bailey in the morning, then left the home and returned to find Hardy there with her.
He got suspicious after hearing their conversation change when he entered the room, and he pulled out a gun to scare them, according to the recorded police interview. Robertson said he typically kept the weapon partially unloaded so the trigger could be pulled twice without firing a bullet. But when he pointed it at Bailey's head, the weapon fired, according to the recording.
Hardy was shocked and Robertson felt threatened when the larger man came toward him. He shot Hardy twice, once in the shoulder and once in the lower abdomen, prosecutors said.
Distraught, he called his daughter and told her he planned to kill himself. She talked him out of it and called police, according to testimony.
Robertson was found outside the home, and a SWAT team broke down the door to find the two bodies. Hardy was dead at the scene and Bailey was flown to a hospital but died a few days later. Both victims also had methamphetamine in their bodies, medical examiner Todd Grey testified.
Robertson initially told police that he found the pair dead after he walked into the house and yelled with no response, according to Cedar City Police Detective Dustin Orton.
Though he originally told police he didn't know Hardy, Robertson later backtracked and said he was a good friend.
Defense attorney Douglas Terry says there's no evidence the shootings were intentional and moved to have the charges reduced Wednesday. Judge G. Michael Westfall refused after prosecutors countered that Robertson had owned the gun for 28 years and was very familiar with it.
Information from: The Spectrum, http://www.thespectrum.com