SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – In the end, Roberto Arguelles gave no one the justice they were expecting.
He was known as the Salt Lake City strangler. In 2003, he was supposed to be executed for the murders of Margo Bond, Lisa Martinez, Tuesday Roberts and Stephanie Blundell.
But, Arguelles took charge of his own life and committed suicide.
It was November 15, 2003 when a guard found Arguelles unresponsive in his cell.
He was taken to the hospital but never recovered. Later, corrections officials said he had been eating his own feces along with plastic bottles, causing a blockage in his stomach.
“It didn’t shock me with knowing how crazy the guy was in the first place,” said Ryan Severe, Bond’s son. “Nothing really shocked me.”
Martinez’s family didn’t want him executed but hoped he’d spend life in prison.
“I wish he could have suffered in prison longer,” said Veronica Martinez, Lisa’s sister. “Because we still have a lot of a lot of … it still weighs heavy in our heart. And it always will.”
The victim’s families believed the murders should never have happened.
Arguelles was paroled in 1991 after spending 11 years in prison. He was convicted of raping two young children and nearly killing one of them.
But at his 1990 parole hearing, he convinced the parole board that he had changed. The following is from the parole hearing:
Hearing Officer: “Can you tell the board how you think you’ve dealt with your anger as it’s directed toward women?”
Arguelles: “That’s been mostly through therapy. The therapy I’ve taken is based on anger control and anger expression so to speak, growing up.”
“They said do not let this guy out or he will kill again, and the parole board let him out, and within two months of letting the guy out he murdered four people,” Severe said. “Four innocent women.”
“Roberto Arguelles should never have been out to do what he did to my sister,” said Martinez. “He had a very bad criminal record.”
The years have softened Severe’s anger towards Arguelles. He said he has overcome his demons and understands this was their destiny.
“I want to think of my mom as this beautiful spirit that evolved from what she was when she was younger,” he said. “Her time on Earth was done and she got to move on. I don’t even hold it against him because I don’t want that anger in my heart.”