UTAH STATE PRISON — Parole has been granted for a man convicted in a gruesome double murder in eastern Utah.
Filomeno Valenchia Ruiz, 44, will be released from prison on Oct. 28. According to a decision released by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole on Tuesday, Ruiz will be placed on parole but also deported and ordered not to return to the United States illegally.
Ruiz was the star witness in the 1998 criminal case against John Pinder, who was convicted of killing and then blowing up the bodies of Rex Tanner, 42, and June Flood, 59, on his Duchesne County ranch. Ruiz insisted he didn't kill the two, but helped Pinder out of fear.
In a plea deal, Ruiz pleaded guilty to a pair of murder charges and got a 5-to-life sentence. Prosecutors recommended a very lenient prison term. The parole board was originally scheduled to terminate Ruiz's sentence in October, but opted to put him under supervision after he failed to fill out paperwork to serve the rest of his sentence in a Mexican prison.
Ruiz is being housed in a California prison for his safety, prison officials have said.