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UTAH STATE PRISON — Jenifer Holbrook Duke says three times now her family has gone to the Utah State Prison to attend a parole hearing for the man who murdered their father nearly a quarter-century ago.
And still, the family has yet to see remorse.
"This time we would like to talk about the startling lack of remorse Monti has continuously shown, and our justifiable concern for our family’s safety if he should be released,” Duke told Utah Pardons and Parole Board member Denise Porter during a Tuesday hearing for Joseph Monti Favero.
"No remorse at all for the fact he murdered our dad who, by Monti's own account, was nothing but a dear friend."
Favero was a longtime friend and business partner with Scott K. Holbrook, 47 — so much so that Holbrook's family treated Favero like one of their own. On June 8, 1994, Favero shot Holbrook 11 times at his business, the Lawn Doctor, and then tried to run over his body by driving into the store.
Favero said voices told him to kill Holbrook. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic and pleaded guilty and mentally ill in 1995 to murder, a first-degree felony. He was sentenced to five years to life in prison.
On Tuesday, as they have done two times before, family members and loved ones of Holbrook packed the small room where parole hearings are held, asking the board to make Favero serve his full life sentence.
"We are as shocked today as we were then," Duke said in a recording of the hearing. "To this day, we have no idea why he murdered our dad."
In a prepared letter to the board, Holbrook's family asked the board to not make its decision on statistical averages such as the age of the now 70-year-old Favero, how many years he has already served, or the prison population, but rather on the severity of the crimes itself.
"We don’t believe Monti is sorry for what he has done. We believe he was angry about the failing business and took it out on our dad. We believe he feels somehow justified in what he did,” Duke said. "This is a man who is not sorry for taking a life or the devastation he has caused to our family. Monti is only sorry for himself. He is not a man that can be trusted with his freedom."
Holbrook had eight children. His youngest daughter was just 4 when he was murdered.
"How do you wake up from a bad dream when the dream is real?” said Stan Allen, who spoke on behalf of Holbrook's extended family. "Cleary, justice can’t be served in this case. There will never be a way to right this wrong."
Allen said the pain the family feels is still raw, nearly 25 years later.
When asked to respond to the contention he has shown no remorse, Favero told Porter that it is hard for him to put into words how he feels.
"I’d just like to express my heartfelt sympathy to Scott’s family for their loss. I know it’s great. He was a fine man,” he said. “I do feel bad. I feel bad often. And I try to, with the memory of Scott, I’ve tried to conduct myself in a respectful and forgiving manner since my incarceration."
Favero said he has tried to show his remorse by his actions, but not getting in trouble while in prison. Porter noted that he had completed many programs while incarcerated and had undergone many years of mental health treatment.
Favero said he planned to live with family members outside of Utah if he is granted parole, and believes he has learned the tools necessary to cope with stress should a tense situation come up again.
"I feel like, with this plan in place, I’m ready to make this transition," he said.
The full five-member board will vote on whether to grant parole in the coming weeks.