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Man sentenced for ’99 slaying

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Jessica Vasquez clutched her infant son to her hip as she screamed at the man convicted of murdering the baby's father.

"Don't look at me, look at him," Vasquez said Monday, thrusting the child toward Billy Frank Spillers, prior to Spillers' sentencing in 3rd District Court. "We buried Bo on his first birthday."

A jury in June found 28-year-old Spillers guilty of the October 1999 murder of James "Bo" Jackson. Jackson was shot three times at his home, as Vasquez and the couple's baby napped in an upstairs bedroom.

Monday, Judge Anthony Quinn sentenced Spillers to five years to life in the Utah State Prison, plus a one to five year gun enhancement. The terms will run consecutively.

Witnesses testified during the trial they heard Spillers and Jackson arguing. After hearing gunshots, Vasquez said she rushed downstairs to find Jackson fatally wounded and Spillers attempting to escape.

Utah Highway Patrol troopers apprehended Spillers near Nephi later that night, after determining his vehicle's speed exceeded 100 mph.

Spillers said he shot Jackson only after Jackson threatened him with a gun, but the eight-member jury disagreed.

In a prepared statement before his sentencing, Spillers apologized to his family, Vasquez, and Jackson's family, who filled the courtroom to capacity.

E-mail: jnii@desnews.com