Utah Board of Pardons and Parole member H.L. Haun called it the most remarkable example of forgiveness he had seen in his 35-year career.
Sandra Scott has written to the board urging the release of Anthony Duran, the man who killed her son in Ogden last year.Scott wants Duran released from the Central Utah State Prison, writing that it serves no purpose to keep the 21-year-old behind bars.
"You don't see it very often. She is probably more free than any of us to have such a forgiving nature," Haun remarked at Duran's initial parole hearing Tuesday.
In prison, Duran takes college classes, attends Alcoholics Anonymous sessions and corresponds with Scott.
Duran was sentenced last August to a 1-to-15-year prison sentence for manslaughter.
At the sentencing, 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin noted how alcohol had stolen the lives of both Duran and his victim. The stabbing death of 20-year-old Alexander Payan, of Ogden, occurred during a confrontation at a party on Feb. 4, 1995.
"Every day I wish I could change the things that happened, but I can't change anything," Duran told Haun. "I wish I could, though."
Duran, of Huntsville, said he and Payan's mother have been writing to each other since he was an inmate at the Weber County Jail last year, awaiting prosecution in the slaying.
"It made things a lot harder for me at first to write to her because I could feel her pain. But it also made it better," Duran said.
Haun said the board had also received letters of support from a monk at a monastery in Ogden Valley, Duran's supervising pre-trial services officer in Weber County, defense attorney John Caine and several family members and friends.
Haun said it was encouraging Duran had so many people who love him and want him to succeed, including a wife and young daughter.
But he cautioned Duran not to be overly optimistic about a release.
"I don't know what I am going to recommend in your case. I am going to have to ponder it. It would be a mistake for you to believe you will be released in the immediate future. The punishment aspect of this crime deserves several years," Haun said.
The full five-member parole board will now consider Duran's case. A decision was not expected for several weeks.