Paul Ray Sheffield, 49, convicted of rape, insists he is an innocent man.
But regardless of his claim, the Utah Board of Pardons denied a parole date Wednesday, and voted to rehear Sheffield's plea for parole in eight years - June 1996. He is serving a five-years-to-life sentence for the rape, a first-degree felony.Sheffield said the rape never occurred - that it was the product of the imagination of the girl's mother or the girl's older sister. "I'm really angry because of what that court did and what the police did. They know I'm innocent."
"We're not here to retry the case," said board member Gary Webster. He told Sheffield the board had received several letters from family members saying his behavior has been a problem for many years.
The board also revoked parole for Mark O. Benavidez and will require him to serve the full five years of his conviction.
Benavidez, 25, is serving time for two 1987 convictions of auto theft. He stole one car after shooting the car's owner. Benavidez claims he was only protecting himself from the man when he fired the shots.
Board members questioned his story and the reason he had a gun in his possession. Benavidez said it was for target practice, but Webster said it is illegal for anyone on parole to carry a gun. Webster said he found Benavidez's statements very difficult to believe.
"You have a tendency to entirely over-minimize what you've done," said pro-tem board member Ernie Wright.
The board also set a rehearing for Dayle Hall Jellings and told him to return in June 1989 prepared to prove he has changed his behavior.
Jellings, 48, is serving a zero-to-five-year sentence on a third-degree felony for attempted sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy. "I'm very thankful to be in prison . . . because I can make the change," he said.
Board member Victoria Palacios told Jellings he is an "extremely lucky man" because others with similar convictions are serving much longer sentences. Jellings said he is involved in sex therapy and told the board he has the ability within himself to overcome his problem.
A man convicted of attempted forcible sexual abuse was also denied parole, and was given a Dec. 1989 hearing date by the board, which also requested a report of his complete psychological assessment.
Walter Anthony Martinez, 33, is serving a zero-to-five-year sentence for forcible sexual abuse of a girlfriend. Board members told him he showed poor adjustment while on probation and poor cooperation during sex therapy. They also said the records clearly indicate many of his problems have centered around drug and alcohol abuse.
Martinez told the board he has not had a drink in two years. "I have made a tremendous effort ever since I've been here to straighten out my life. I've quit drinking totally," he said.
The board also voted to give a rehearing in June 1990 to David Lorrin Jameson, 34, who is serving a five-year-to-life sentence for his conviction of sexual abuse of a child.
Palacios said there are few people in prison with a similar charge and sentence as Jameson and asked him why he thinks that is the case.
"I don't think I learned the value of innocence and virtue at an early point in my life," said Jameson. "I accept what I've done is very wrong and that's why I went to the police to turn myself in," he said.