Johnathan Doody, one of two men convicted in the killings, won a new trial in Maricopa County after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2008 officers used improper tactics to obtain a false confession from him, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.
During a fourth day of testimony, officers detailed how they linked the gun to Doody after a military police officer at Luke Air Force Base, Sgt. Joseph Turitto, found it stuffed behind clothing in a car owned by Rolando Caratechea a month after the shootings.
Turitto, who had heard police were looking for a .22-caliber rifle like the one he found, contacted sheriff's deputies.
Investigator Rick Sinsabaugh testified he convinced Caratechea three weeks later to give him the rifle for testing. The gun owner said he had loaned the gun to someone else.
The weapon was identified as the one that killed six monks, two acolytes and a nun during a robbery at the temple 20 miles west of Phoenix.
Doody was convicted of the murders in 1993 and sentenced to 281 years in prison. His former roommate, Alessandro Garcia, also was convicted and sentenced to a term of 271 years.