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The Justice Files: Loophole gives accused killer freedom

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WEST VALLEY Utah (ABC4 Utah) – He got away with murder.

That’s what a West Valley woman claimed about the man accused of killing her husband in 2006.

Victor Herrera-Briones was charged with murder but the following year was found incompetent to stand trial.

After some legal wrangling, Herrera-Briones was recently deported back to Mexico and will not stand trial for his crime.

Jacqui Rosas has been monitoring this case for nearly 13 years.  Her husband, Hugo Rosas-Pardo was a co-worker of Herrera-Briones. Both worked in the construction business.
 
“I am angry,” said Jacqui Rosas. “I feel like he got away with murder.  He’s back in Mexico living life freely.”

Her husband was shot to death outside their West Valley home.  Rosas said their young son watched his father gunned down.

Herrera-Briones allegedly lured him outside and opened fire.

He was in the U.S. illegally and was arrested in Nevada. Some suspect he was headed back to Mexico.

Since then, Herrera-Briones has been a patient at the state hospital after being found incompetent to stand trial.

But the hospital planned to release him because his health couldn’t be restored.

The Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office objected but in a recent ruling, the judge allowed his release, but he was deported.

The ruling didn’t sit well with Rosas who learned of it after he was gone. 

“I feel like he can change his name and come back across the border anytime he wants,” said Rosas.

The district attorney said there wasn’t anything his office could do to hold Herrera-Briones accountable.

“We do not have in the state of Utah a structure to keep the community safe,” Gill said.  “There’s an impasse that’s occurring here.”

He said the Utah legislature failed to act on a bill that could remedy the problem.  The proposed legislation could have held the violent criminal in state custody at secure half way homes for longer periods of time.

 “We are playing unfortunately Russian roulette with the lives of our people on some of these most serious offenders,” Gill said.

There is a warrant for Herrera-Briones arrest should he re-enter illegally.

But Rosas said if he re-enters the U.S. the only way he’ll be caught is if he commits another crime.

“He could murder someone again,” Rosas said.

For now, there’s little she can do. She feels cheated that justice for her husband will never be achieved.

“I have gone to every court hearing, every scheduling conference, every review, everything,” Rosas said. “I have fought so hard for it and in the end I got nothing.  I feel incredibly let down.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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