Neighborhood watch shooting suspect up for parole

Posted at 4:46 PM, Sep 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-12 20:15:23-04

UTAH STATE PRISON -- A man who shot and paralyzed his neighbor in an armed confrontation in the middle of a street is up for parole.

Reggie Campos revisited the night he shot David Serbeck in 2009, telling a hearing officer for the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole that he did not go looking for him, but grabbed his gun when his daughter and her friends ran into his home and claimed they were being followed.

"I didn't know what was going on. All I know is I had a call from a hysterical girl saying someone was chasing them," Campos said Thursday.

"Is that normal for you to just grab your gun case when you leave the house?" parole board hearing officer Cathy Crawford asked him.

"Well, I left in a hurry because... when someone's chasing my daughter and her friends... I took it for my safety. I didn't know what I was facing," Campos explained. "I didn't even put my shoes on when I left the house, but I think the fact that I had a gun gave me a sense of security."

Both Campos and Serbeck have offered different accounts of what exactly happened. Police said Campos confronted Serbeck, who claimed to be on neighborhood watch. Both men had guns. During the confrontation, Serbeck was shot and paralyzed.

At his trial, Campos claimed to have acted in self-defense. He was convicted of attempted murder and aggravated assault and sentenced to serve up to life in prison.

The Utah Court of Appeals ruled that Campos' defense made errors at his trial, and has overturned his attempted murder conviction. The Salt Lake County District Attorney has not yet decided if it will re-try him for attempted murder.

During Thursday's hearing, Crawford reminded Campos that "this is not a place where we re-try a case," as he attempted to offer his version of events.

The victim in this case did not speak at Thursday's hearing. David Serbeck is serving prison time himself for unlawful sexual conduct with a teenage girl. Crawford said Serbeck had told the parole board he believes Campos has not shown any remorse for the shooting.

"I feel it's a horrible situation that Mr. Serbeck is in," Campos said. "I could have easily been in the same position as he was, as he ended up. I wouldn't want that to occur to anybody."

Since he has been incarcerated, the parole board noted that Campos has been given several "write-ups" for not following the rules (he said it was because he was unfamiliar with the prison system). Serbeck has also filed a civil lawsuit against Campos, which is still being litigated.

Campos' family and friends packed the hearing room inside the Utah State Prison to show their support. The parole board noted they had also sent numerous letters on his behalf.

"We're just here to support Reggie and we want him home," said his wife, Kathy Campos. "He needs to be home, you know? He's a great guy and we miss him. He just needs to be home."

The parole board will make a decision on when to release Campos within the next few weeks.