PROVO With his head bowed and speaking through an interpreter, Jesus Manuel Holguin-Albo, 29, sobbed as he told the judge he would give his life to bring back his friend, whom he fatally stabbed during an alcohol-induced fight.
"I am very remorseful for what I have done," Albo told 4th District Judge Gary Stott Thursday morning at his sentencing. "It was never my intention to cause any injury to anyone. I was just trying to stop a fight that was occurring in my home. If it could be possible, I would give up my life ... to give my friend Raul back his life."
Co-workers and friends, Albo and Raul Gonzalez had spent nearly the entire day of May 21, 2006, drinking in Albo's Provo home. That night a fight erupted between Gonzalez and another person, and Albo stepped in to break it up. Around 15 minutes later Albo and Gonzalez began fighting, with the smaller Albo getting punched repeatedly in the face.
After the pummeling stopped, Albo jumped up, ran to the kitchen and came back with a knife, stabbing Gonzalez twice in the chest and causing him to quickly bleed to death.
Prosecutor Curtis Larson reminded the court of the state's plea deal reached in May, which meant Albo pleaded guilty to a second-degree felony charge of manslaughter, rather than first-degree felony murder.
"At the time (the stabbing) took place, the defendant was operating under an influence of extreme emotional distress for which there was a reasonable explanation," Larson said, alluding to the beating and the intoxication. "But, in essence, the charge is that he knowingly and intentionally caused the death (of another)."
Adult Probation and Parole interviewed Albo before his sentencing and recommended that he go to prison, based on two prior DUIs and the fact that a knife was used in the crime.
Judge Stott agreed with the prison recommendation and sentenced Albo to one to 15 years, with credit for 760 days already served in jail. However, he acknowledged that incarceration was not the most severe punishment Albo would have.
"I feel bad that Mr. Albo has to suffer more than what he's already had to suffer, and what he will forever suffer knowing a man has died because of his actions," Stott said. "I have come to believe from my perspective of him that he is a decent man. Unfortunately he was involved in an activity where he made a real bad decision."
Albo and his attorney, Brook Sessions, had asked the judge to consider a year in jail, then quick deportation, so Albo as the oldest of six children, with two children of his own and with a degree in civil engineering could once again work in Mexico to provide for his family.
"I would like an opportunity to do it right," Albo said. "Even though compensation is not being asked for Raul or for his family ... my intention is to assist his elderly parents."I know that wherever (Raul) is," Albo continued, choking back tears, "he will be grateful. He knows that it was never my intention to cause injury, to hurt him. I always looked at him as a good friend."