DRAPER Utah (ABC4 Utah) – After serving eight-months in prison, Thomas McEver is eligible for parole.
In May, he was sentenced up to five-years years in prison for a violent domestic episode with his ex-wife.
McEver was previously profiled in a Justice Files story focusing on lenient sentences towards abusive spouses.
“There are many regrets to losing what was supposed to be my best friend, my children (and) the hardships that I caused,” McEvers said at his parole hearing Thursday.
Now that he’s in prison, McEver claimed he could have handled his personal affairs much differently.
Last month, Breann Cleverley spoke to ABC4 about that terrifying day at their American Fork home.
“He fired the gun and it was about two inches from the side of my head and three inches up,” she said.
The shot missed her by inches. It landed on the wall and McEver tried covering the hole before police arrived. Cleverly then said he assaulted her in the bedroom.
It ended a series of violent episodes between the couple. In May, he was sentenced to prison but is now up for parole.
I allowed things to transpire a lot longer than I should have,” McEver told his hearing officer. “I needed to have removed myself from the situation.”
But a letter from a deputy Utah County Attorney to the Board of Pardons warned his release could lead to more violence, perhaps even a murder.
That’s why his ex-wife went into hiding.
The prosecutor in Utah County claimed it would have been difficult to charge him with attempted murder because of intent.
Carl Hollan said the current law prevented him to enhance charges against McEver.
In Utah, violating a protective order starts as a class A misdemeanor.
But repeatedly violating it becomes a third degree felony, no matter how often it occurs.
“If the abuser took it a step further and choked their victim or held a gun to the victim’s head it would only still be a third-degree felony,” said Holland back in November.
Equally disturbing for both Cleverley and the prosecutor was the fact that all charges against McEver are now running concurrently, not consecutively.
As a result, he could be out soon.
Thursday when he appeared before the hearing officer with the Board of Pardons, he had an explanation for nearly all the incidents on his record.
In 2017 he was accused of wanting to “beat the holy living (expletive) out of her and drag her body to a parking lot so somebody could find her,” Curtis Garner, the hearing examiner told him.
“Those are unfounded accusations, completely false,” he said the incident.
In the case that landed him in prison, McEver wanted to make it clear that he did not shoot at her.
“I did not hit her nor did I shoot at her,” he said.
When Garner asked what he was shooting he was quick to respond.
“I fired at the wall,” he said.
He reminded the hearing officer that his past record is clear and claimed the judge at sentencing said so.
“There has never has been a violent charge in my history,” he said.
After he fired at Cleverly, he did force her to sign a letter giving custody of their daughter to him.
“(The shot) was to persuade her to give me my child’s rights,” he said.
That letter was later declared invalid because it was signed under duress.
One of those at the hearing was Cleverley’s mother.
“(The hearing) was a farce,” said Murlene Cleverley. “He he did and said whatever he thought they wanted to hear.
She hoped the members of the Board of Pardons would see through him.
“He’s a chameleon,” she said. “He’s very good at playing the part that needs to be played at the time.”
His future will be decided by the entire Board of Pardons in the coming weeks.