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Former gang member who killed Utah postal worker seeks parole after 25 years



A former gang member from Los Angeles who shot and killed a postal employee in Utah after which shot at others who tried to assist the sufferer is looking for parole from the Utah State Jail after 25 years. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: 4-5 minutes

UTAH STATE PRISON — A former gang member who claims he was excessive on medicine when he went on a violent path of destruction 25 years in the past is now looking for parole for crimes that embody killing a postal employee on I-15, capturing at two individuals who tried to assist the sufferer, making an attempt to run one other girl off the highway, threatening to kill his ex-roommate and main police on a excessive pace chase.

On Might 21, 1997, Jose Garcia-Miramontes stated he was excessive on acid when he sideswiped Lee W. Parker, 49, a father of 5, on the 7200 South onramp to I-15 as Parker was driving to his early morning shift on the U.S. Put up Workplace. After forcing him off the highway, Garcia-Miramontes shot Parker, drove a brief distance, then went again and shot him a number of extra occasions. Parker was hit 3 times, together with an execution-style bullet to the temple.

Garcia-Miramontes then shot at two extra individuals who had stopped to assist Parker. These folks weren’t injured.

As Garcia-Miramontes drove away from that scene, he tailgated one other girl and tried to pressure her off the highway. He then went to the house of a former roommate and tried to get a knife so he might kill her, in accordance with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. The lady was not injured.

After leaving that residence, Garcia-Miramontes stole a car and led police on a excessive pace chase for about 10 miles earlier than being arrested in Fillmore.

In 1998, Garcia-Miramontes was convicted of aggravated murder and tried aggravated homicide. At sentencing, prosecutor Robert Stott stated that if not for the needs of Parker’s widow, the state would have sought the death penalty. He was as a substitute sentenced to life in jail with the opportunity of parole.

On Tuesday, Garcia-Miramontes, now 45, appeared earlier than the pardons board for the primary time.

Throughout his listening to, he talked about rising up as a gang member in Los Angeles and the way he moved to Utah to attempt to change his life.

“I used to be making an attempt to work and do good. … It wasn’t like I got here out right here to hold on with the gang stuff,” he stated.

However Garcia-Miramontes was nonetheless an energetic gang member on the time of the killing and remained a gang member for a number of years after being despatched to jail.

On the day of capturing, he stated he was feeling down due to struggles in his life and determined to take acid. Garcia-Miramontes claims it was the one time in his life he is used arduous medicine. As soon as the medicine took impact, he stated all he remembers about that day was a sense of paranoia and never figuring out what was actual and what wasn’t.

“I bear in mind leaving the home the place I used to be at and folks I used to be with making an attempt to cease me,” he stated. “I simply bear in mind being on the freeway and seeing issues that weren’t really there.”

In his thoughts, Garcia-Miramontes stated he thought Parker and the motorists who stopped to assist him have been enemies.

“I assumed I used to be working into rival gang members of mine,” he stated. “They weren’t who I assumed in my thoughts that they have been.”

However throughout his listening to, Garcia-Miramontes additionally acknowledged a number of occasions that he solely remembers parts of his crimes. He does not bear in mind making an attempt to run one other girl off the highway or asking for a knife to kill his former roommate.

“I could not clarify to you the way I acquired to her home,” he stated.

Whereas fleeing from police, he stated all he can bear in mind about that second is having the overwhelming feeling that “I needed to go see my mother for some cause,” he advised the board. His mom lived in California.

Garcia-Miramontes gave a number of fractured solutions to the board’s questions on Tuesday, saying he could not bear in mind a lot of what occurred. He stated he doesn’t consider he has a drug drawback and at the moment is now not a gang member.

“I’ve nothing to do with them now,” he stated. “I simply needed to be achieved with it. … I simply do not take a look at life like that no extra.”

He stated of the 23 disciplinary violations he had between 1999 and 2020 whereas incarcerated, most of these violations have been when he first arrived and was nonetheless adjusting. Garcia-Miramontes stated he would now like the prospect to be paroled.

“I used to be younger and I used to be dumb,” he stated of his previous actions. “I might prefer to suppose I am wiser … extra affected person, humble. I am not what I was.”

Nobody from Parker’s household spoke on the listening to. The total five-member board will now vote on whether or not to grant parole.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the staff in 2021 after a few years of reporting for the Deseret Information

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