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Convicted child killer seeks parole

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Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-06 21:18:58-04

DRAPER -- A man convicted of killing his 6-year-old cousin when he was a teenager appeared before the parole board Tuesday, seeking to be released from prison.

Alex Bybee sat in a room at the Utah State Prison, explaining to a member of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole what happened in 1996 when he was 17 years old.

"It happened from me being angry to pulling an arm, to going to something else that I didn't think was possible or I could do," Bybee said. "It just happened so fast."

Bybee said he got into a fight with Lance Guevarra over a video game.

"I pulled his arm to remind him about returning the video game," Bybee explained. "After I yanked it hard, I heard a pop and hit the ground. A thousand things rushed through my head."

Bybee confessed to strangling Lance by stepping on his neck and burying his body in a shallow grave near the Southern Utah town of Big Water, where the two were neighbors. The search for Lance lasted months in the desert. In 1997, Bybee checked into a Las Vegas hospital and confessed to killing the boy.

At the time, the 17-year-old boy told police he was angry and afraid of Lance's father.

"He was a really mean, hateful person to me," Bybee told the parole board on Tuesday.

Utah Board of Pardons and Parole member Angie Welling noted that since he went to prison, Bybee has completed required programs and had no disciplinary programs. A psychological examiner said he was unlikely to re-offend.

"Your examiner notes that six to seven month period before Lance's body was discovered, you had spent time with the Guevarra family, you had been in the community, you had watched the searches for his body happening," Welling said. "That examiner described your ability to do that without confessing an immature emotional response. Would you agree with that?"

"Yes," Bybee replied. "I was very immature."

Members of the Guevarra family did not attend Tuesday's hearing, but Lance's mother, Kimberly Guevarra, requested the board read a letter she had written.

"Lance can't speak up for himself, so it's up to me to let you know what Alexander has taken from me," Welling said, reading an excerpt from the letter aloud.

"He was the youngest of my boys. His smile and laugh could make my day. He was going to summer school and was going to start the first grade in a couple of weeks. He loved school. He loved swimming. We lived by Lake Powell and we would go swimming and fishing all the time."

Welling made no recommendation on whether Bybee should be paroled. The full, five member parole board will vote and release a decision in the coming weeks.