SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News ) – It was a jealous boyfriend that took the life of Brent Winters.
In September, 1995, Jimmy Harker was on a mission to destroy what he once had in life.
His former girlfriend, Tracy Anderson was visiting Winters at his camper trailer in Wasatch County. Harker found the two of them together and shot and killed Winters. Anderson miraculously survived.
“She’s very lucky to be alive,” said an unidentified member of the county sheriff’s department. “It’s a 25 automatic that entered and hit the hard part of her head and then shattered down and come out through the cheek and out the mouth.”
According to Anderson, Harker had managed to get a ride from a friend who dropped him off at their campsite in the woods.
“He knocked on the door, waking us up,” Anderson recalled. “Brent stepped outside and was immediately murdered by Jimmy.”
She said Harker then returned to the trailer. Anderson hid but Harker found her and pulled out his gun and fired twice at close range.
“What I do remember was Jimmy telling me that he was going to kill me and how his hand felt getting into my hair, pulling it out by the roots as I screamed and struggled to escape.” Anderson said.
She managed to survive and Harker left thinking that she was dead. Anderson called her father and authorities were notified.
According to newspaper accounts, Harker told a deputy sheriff “I should have killed them both.”
Jared Winters was 19-years old at the time of his father’s murder. They had made plans together only to find out he was dead.
“I got back Thursday night, that’s the night he was murdered,” said Jared Winters. “Friday morning, I woke up. I was going to scout elk with him and remember my aunt coming over to tell me my dad was murdered.”
Brent Winters also had another son, 17-year old Josh Winters. Jared said their lives were shattered to hear their father had been murdered.
“My life was over,” the elder sibling said. “My dad meant everything to me.”
It was also over for Harker. He was arrested and accepted a plea bargain where he admitting to killing Winters and nearly killing his former girlfriend. Harker was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five-years-to-life in prison.
At his sentencing, Judge Lynn Davis told Harker “the killing was merciless. It’s outrageous. It’s repulsive.”
25 years have passed since Harker stormed onto Winters’ property and started firing. Harker has remained in prison since 1996 and is now up for parole. Anderson was at the hearing and pleaded with the hearing officer not to let him out.
“I implore you to keep my most important lifeline,” said Anderson. “Please keep him incarcerated and away from me.”
Wednesday, ABC4 will continue the story of Jimmy Harker’s crime. Harker also appeared before hearing officer of the Utah board of pardons and recalled what happened that night and claimed he is now a changed man. But is he?