Seven relatives of slain convenience store clerk Tod Menuey traveled to Utah at their own expense to speak against parole for the man's killer.
Ernest Gabriel Hernandez was sentenced three years ago to five years to life in prison for the slaying of Menuey, 26. Third District Judge Michael Murphy recommended Hernandez never be released. Wednesday's parole hearing was required under Utah law.Hernandez, then 27, walked away from a Colorado prison work-release program in June 1990. He came to Salt Lake City and on Jan. 23, 1991, robbed the Circle K where Menuey was working.
While high on cocaine, Hernandez ordered Menuey into the restroom and shot him in the back of the head.
"Tod was not only my son, he was my dear friend," Dorene Menuey-Carnahan said at the parole hearing. Hernandez "snuffed out Tod's life in a senseless, brutal act," the Oregon woman said.
"If Hernandez is ever freed from prison, he will surely kill again," said Don Menuey, the victim's brother and also from Oregon.
"It's too late to change anything I did," Hernandez said. "It's justified to keep me incarcerated because I did take another man's life. I'm trying to deal with it and do the best I can while I'm here."
Board member Cheryl Hanson said she would vote against assigning a parole date and propose a rehearing in 2006.