Utah killer to spend at least 28 years in prison
Prison • Francisco Alverez gets parole date hearing in 2041.
Published: March 29, 2013 08:19PM
Updated: July 7, 2013 11:30PM
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Francisco Alvarez, 55, has been arrested on suspicion of homicide and accused of shooting a man at Riverside Park in Salt Lake City. Courtesy Salt Lake County jail.

In February, Francisco Alverez was given a 15-to-life sentence after being convicted of shooting and killing a man during an argument at a Salt Lake City park.

Last week, the Utah Board of Pardons decided that Alverez, 57, will remain behind bars for at least 28 years. The board, after an administrative review, set an original hearing date of May 2041 for Alverez.

A jury convicted Alverez in December of first-degree felony murder for the May 5, 2011, death of 29-year-old Jorge Veracruz. He also convicted of second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and third-degree felony discharge of a weapon.

The two men were with a group drinking at Riverside Park, 700 N. 1400 West, when an argument broke out. As Veracruz walked away, Alverez fired three shots from a semiautomatic handgun, according to prosecutors.

Alverez’s defense attorneys said he believed Veracruz was going to rob him and fired after he thought he saw Veracruz reach into a bag for something.

In 1980, Alverez was convicted of homicide for running over 59-year-old David Bingham with a truck in Ogden the previous year. He was paroled in 1985 but spent time in state and federal prison for various other crimes before being arrested in connection with Veracruz’s death.

The first trial in the case ended in a mistrial last October after a witness offered testimony that defense attorneys said tainted the jury. Alverez was retried and found guilty in December.

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Twitter: @Brooke4Trib