Husband's mistake, prison sentence happened for a reason, wife says

Published: Sunday, March 24 2013 8:40 p.m. MDT

Kathy Campos looks at photographs of her family, including her husband Reggie Campos, at her home in southern Utah, Thursday, March 21, 2013.

Alan Neeves, Deseret News

ST. GEORGE — Reggie and Kathy Campos met while on track scholarships at Southern Utah University, married young and quickly welcomed two girls into their family.

They worked several jobs while they finished school, moved several times, welcomed two more children more than 12 years later.

"It was really really crazy," Kathy Campos said. "We had a good marriage, but it was hard, also, and then we got to this point where it started paying off. He was a CPA and I was a social worker and we were living the American dream. We were getting the things we desired.

The last four years before her husband was sent to prison, she said, "was our happiest time ever."

She now believes, in some strange way, that her husband was "destined" to shoot and paralyze a man in their Bluffdale neighborhood, despite the heartache and struggles it has subsequently brought to her and their children. She sees a greater plan in the shooting and the events that led to it — and also thinks that it was all somehow necessary in order to land the man her husband shot behind bars.

The shooting that changed everything occurred July 22, 2009, just 100 meters from the front door of their dream home in Bluffdale. That's where Reggie Campos shot and paralyzed David Serbeck.

"Our world just crashed," she said. "Everything changed."

From that day on, Kathy Campos has stood behind her husband "100 percent." She firmly believes he shot Serbeck in self-defense, as he claimed since placing a 911 call just after the shooting. She believed him even when a jury did not, finding him guilty of attempted murder.

She conceded she would have stood by him no matter what his explanation was. She is firm in her belief that he was calm that night and was trying to protect their daughter. 

"He's never lied to me," she explained. "Even if he said, 'I lost it and I shot him,' I would have supported him then."

Today, Campos is in prison in Gunnison serving a three-years-to-life sentence. Serbeck is at the prison in Draper for an unrelated crime of having sex with a teenage neighbor — although Kathy Campos doesn't believe the events are unrelated.

The girl whom Serbeck would later be convicted of sexually abusing said she came forward to report the abuse only after seeing news reports that Serbeck had been following teenage girls on the night of the shooting. She went to authorities during Campos' trial and filed a civil lawsuit against Serbeck in an effort to help Campos' case.

Two versions

On that summer night in 2009, Reggie Campos and David Serbeck were both on the streets of Bluffdale. Serbeck said he was conducting an unofficial neighborhood patrol, prompted by a recent rash of burglaries. He and his neighbor, Troy Peterson, encountered Campos' then-16-year-old daughter, Stephanie, and her friends.

The girl testified that Serbeck asked them what they were up to. Soon after, she noticed the same men following her and several of her friends while she was driving them home.

One of those friends said during Campos' 2010 trial that the girls were "freaking out" when the SUV aggressively followed them. Stephanie called her father, who met up with the young women at the Campos' home and followed them all to their homes. He then grabbed his gun and his daughter to went back out to search for the vehicle that had been following them.

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