SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Jose Garcia-Miramontes blamed his youthful problems on drugs, alcohol, and gangs.

And those vices led him to where he is today, the state prison. In 1997, he went on a shooting rampage while under the influence and killed Lee Parker.

Parker was on his way to his job at the post office. He volunteered to work an early shift.
Meanwhile, Miramontes left a party under the influence of LSD and alcohol.

“For some reason, I thought I couldn’t cope with the problems I had so I just wanted to get drunk that day,”

Miramontes said during his recent parole hearing. “Somebody offered me LSD and once I was drunk, I don’t know, I just said yeah.”

It was the first time Miramontes ever spoke about his crime.

Back in 1997, the lives of Parker and Miramontes collided near the south end intersection of Interstate-15 in Salt Lake County. For some reason, Miramontes fired several rounds at Parker’s vehicle.

“He then returned, got out, and in execution-style shot a man who was helpless,” said Robert Stott, the deputy Salt Lake district attorney at his sentencing. “This is the kind of man we are dealing with.

Miramontes also shot at three other people who tried to help Parker. He then fled but was later arrested.
It left his wife and family heartbroken.

“I lost the one person I thought would be with me for the rest of my life,” said Maxine Parker at his 1998 sentencing. “We would both grow old together.

Miramontes was facing the death penalty but Parker’s family didn’t want that. They even forgave him.
Miramontes was quiet, subdued, and never spoke at this sentencing. A judge sentenced him to life in prison with a chance of parole

For the past 24 years, he’s remained locked up at the state prison. He’s now been given a chance of parole and recently appeared before a hearing officer.

“I don’t remember how it started,” he told the hearing officer. “I don’t remember a lot of things I fired that night.”

But while in prison, Miramontes has not been a model inmate. He’s had 23 disciplinary violations since his incarceration began in 1998.

The hearing officer noted he hasn’t had one in the past three years.

Miramontes said alcohol, drugs, and gangs influenced his young life. It is something he regretted.

“When I was young I thought I had no choice,” he said. “It was the neighborhood that I grew up in.”

“I am just a changed person,” Miramontes said. “I’ve got more patience.”

Parker’s family was not present for the parole hearing. But Miramontes offered them something he had never been able to say.

“I am sorry for taking their loved one,” Miramontes said. “(I am) sorry for the harm it caused them.”

The entire board of pardons is reviewing his case and to date has not reached a decision on whether he’ll be paroled.