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DESPITE WARNING, ARGUELLES WAS PAROLED IN '91

Why was double homicide suspect Roberto Arguelles paroled despite a judge's request that he be kept behind bars as long as possible?

No one seems to know. Those who made the decision to parole the man convicted of attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault are no longer on the state's Board of Pardons and Parole.Those contacted don't remember making the decision, and there is no written document in Ar-guel-les' file that would shed light on the rationale for their decision.

Arguelles went to prison at age 18 on two consecutive 5-years-to-life sentences. He was charged with raping two teenage girls, stabbing one of the victims three times in the back and slashing her throat from ear to ear during a sexual act. The girl survived after crawling to a neighbor's home.

But despite the sentence, he was given a parole date just eight years later for May of 1988. Those on the board at the time of the hearing, held in 1985, were Gary Webster, Victoria Palacios and Dennis Fuchs, now a 3rd Circuit Court judge.

The May 1988 parole date was rescinded because Arguelles had some trouble in prison, according to records on file with the Board of Pardons. But he was paroled three years later in June of 1991 after serving 11 years of his sentence. Webster, Palacios and Paul Boyden were board members when that decision was made, according to board records.

News reports at the time Ar-guel-les stood trial said then-3rd District Judge Christine Durham recommended he be kept in prison for as long as possible "for society's protection."

There is no written record of Durham's recommendation in Ar-guelles' board file.

One of the board members who both rescinded the 1988 date and then gave Arguelles' the 1991 parole date said board members took recommendations from judges "very seriously."

"We paid a lot of attention to that (a judge's recommendation)," said Boyden, who's now a deputy Salt Lake County district attorney. Boyden said he doesn't remember this particular case.

During his parole, Arguelles participated in both intensively supervised parole and electronic monitoring programs. He was arrested 14 months later - Aug. 10, 1992 - for sexually assaulting two children at West Valley City's Douglas T. Orchard Elementary School.

He was convicted of the crimes and sent back to prison in December of 1992. Not only did the judge in that case, Kenneth Rigtrip, give him two consecutive minimum mandatory prison sentences of 9 years to life, the judge also included a handwritten note recommending Arguelles never be pa-roled.

John Green, the board's administrative coordinator, said the current board members give weighty consideration to a judge's recommendations.