UTAH STATE PRISON — Travis Telford cried as he recalled the shooting and killing of Troy Michael Weston, 20, at Willard Bay on March 12, 1994.
"He was laying on the ground, and he was trying to talk. And all that was coming out was big bubbles of blood. But he was trying to say, ‘Why?’ And I didn’t know,” Telford said during his recent parole hearing.
Telford was 23, and Brandon Dahlquist was 20 when they shot Weston multiple times for allegedly selling them diluted drugs. At trial, prosecutors described both men as hardcore drug users. Both were convicted of murder and sentenced to five years to life at the Utah State Prison.
On May 8, Telford had his first parole hearing in 20 years.
During a recording of the hearing, board member Angela Micklos noted that Telford had had nearly two dozen write-ups since being in prison. And he admitted he had relapsed on drugs while incarcerated in December due to the death of his mother.
"I didn’t know how to deal with my grief,” he said.
But after being in prison for nearly a quarter-century, Telford, now 46, said he has learned impulse control.
"I try to base my decisions on rational instead of emotional," he said, while also joking, "I crochet up a storm" when asked how he deals with stress now.
Telford, who has struggled with drugs since he was juvenile, admitted that continued drug treatment would be very important should he be released.
"I would need that support to make sure I don’t become a bonehead like all the people I live around and just come through the revolving gate. Because that is my biggest fear if you grant me parole, is coming back,” he said.
His other fear, he admitted, is adapting to a world that has changed since the last time he was a free man.
"I don’t know society," he said. "I wouldn’t know how to act. I’ve been locked up so long, it blows people away that I’ve never been on the internet."
The full five-member board will vote on whether to grant parole. A decision is expected in a few weeks.
Dahlquist's conviction was overturned in 1997 by the Utah Court of Appeals, which determined an incriminating statement he gave to police was in violation of his Miranda rights. During his re-trial, Dahlquist was acquitted by a jury. Since then, he has been convicted on several other crimes, according to court records, including being found guilty last week of interfering with an arrest.