A Mexican national will spend at least 10 years in prison for the July 1987 shooting death of a prominent Payson orchard owner, the Utah Board of Pardons has ruled.
Raul Aguilera, 22, serving five years to life in the Utah State Prison for second-degree murder, will not appear again before the parole board until August 1997.He was convicted of shooting his employer, Brian Allred, 26, three times with a .22-caliber handgun on July 1.
Aguilera contended he was drunk and meant only to shoot into the air, not at Allred, but board member Paul Boyden said Allred's wounds indicated otherwise.
One shot struck Allred in the face, and the next two bullets struck him in the back.
"The fact that all three shots hit the victim - two apparently after he was going in the other direction - is why you're here on this charge and not something lesser," Boyden said.
Allred had been working all night in the orchard spraying trees while Aguilera and several friends were drinking and shooting guns, he said.
"Because complaints had been received, the victim was sent to tell (the workers) they could not work the next day," he said. "You apparently became angry and shot him."
Aguilera, speaking through an interpreter, said the victim had sprayed him twice during the night as he drove by on a tractor.
"About three times he came and told us not to make noise," Aguilera said. But he said when Allred came the last time, Aguilera was alone and drunk and the two argued.
"We argued and he came at me. I had the pistol and I shot him and I shot him again. I didn't mean to shoot him. It was me, but I don't know what happened," Aguilera said.
Several members of the Allred's family told the board Aguilera should never be released.
"I would be satisfied - if I were the judge - with life in prison. He earned it," said Bliss Allred, the victim's grandfather. "Or, put him to death, it don't matter to me."