SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – It took months for investigators to piece what happened to Shelly Jiron in 1991.
Her burned body was found inside a car that had run into a ravine on the west side of Utah Lake.
Inside the vehicle was her husband, Joe Jiron. He too was badly burned, but unlike his wife, he survived but had severe burns.
But from the outset, authorities with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office called it “suspicious.”
About a year earlier, Shelly Jiron filed for divorce. But on this date, the two had travelled to West Wendover and visited several casinos and stayed at a hotel.
Over the course of several months, investigators pieced together their case against the husband. They found evidence at the hotel they had stayed at. The state fire marshall determined
the fire was intentionally set.
In November 1992, Jiron was sentenced from five-years-and-up-to-life in prison.
Nearly 30-years later, Jiron is eligible for parole. He appeared before a hearing officer and told the story of what happened in the car. He said they had sex and afterwards got into an argument.
“She struggles from that and starts scratching at me,” Jiron told the hearing officer. “So I eventually, I end up choking her…and I am like mad and frustrated and I end up killing her.”
He told the hearing officer he panicked and started driving towards Lehi. Jiron pulled over and grabbed a container of gas that was in the back seat.
“I just poured gas all over her and part of the car and all over me (and) started the car,” Jiron said.
He continued driving before pulling over once more.
“I ignited the fire in the car,” he said.
And then woke up in the hospital. Family members also listened to his testimony through a video link provided by the prison.
The couple had two children and he apologized to them.
Shelly’s father, Ross Conk accepted his apology and told ABC4 the following: “I’m glad he’s out. He made a mistake and he repented.”
The Utah Board of Pardons determined Jiron had paid for his crime. He was released from prison Tuesday, May 11.