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UTAH STATE PRISON — Two men who have served lengthy prison sentences for separate murders have each been granted parole.
But while one man will still serve a few more years in the Utah State Prison before being released, another has already been turned over to immigration officials.
Eugene Bisner, now 40, has been granted a parole date of April 2, 2024, "contingent upon his completion of required therapy and compliance with his case action plan," according to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.
On Jan. 6, 1999, Bisner, then 19, and three friends met Darby Golub, 19, in a Smith's parking lot, 2039 E. 9400 South in Sandy, allegedly to settle a drug debt. Bisner and Golub were friends. Golub showed up at the parking lot with a rifle, which his family claimed he was going to give to Bisner as collateral for the $350 he owed him.
At some point during the confrontation, Bisner picked up the rifle and fired six rounds at Golub as he was running away and trying to get back into his truck. One round struck Golub in the back of his head, killing him.
Bisner was convicted of murder and aggravated robbery and sentenced to a combined 11 years to life in prison.
In April, Bisner had his first parole hearing.
"I can’t say what possessed me to pick up the gun and fire, whether it was anger, frustration, fear. I don’t know what my motivations were. I have a hard time even understanding even now. But I repeatedly fired until the gun was empty,” he said. "There’s never a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about all the pain I’ve caused. My choices that night were purely selfish.
"I don’t think in my heart I meant to kill him. It was just a very, very bad situation that went wrong real quick,” he said. "Honestly, I’ve pondered that this whole time. I never have understood why I did it, why I began pulling the trigger."
The parole board also recently granted parole to Edgardo Said Mata, 38, who was scheduled to be released May 14, but was to immediately be handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement for deportation.
On Dec. 19, 1998, Mata, then 18, of Salem, shot Ramon Pena, 17, twice from behind at Provo's Club Omni in what was believed to be Utah County's first gang-related murder. His first parole hearing was held in March.
"The 18-year-old person that committed that senseless crime, I don’t even recognize that guy," Mata said. "There’s no repair. I wish there was a way I could repair that and bring back the life that I stole from him and the years that I took from his family."
Mata knew once he was released from prison that deportation was "imminent." He said his family came to the United States legally when he was 7, but he never became an official citizen. And because of his crime, he was scheduled to be deported once he was released. Mata told the parole board in March that he would likely live with his family on a farm in Honduras if he was granted parole.