At a parole hearing last month, Chavez-Reyes asked for some leniency from the board, painting himself as an unaware accomplice in Roberto Miramontes Roman's getaway in the hours after the Jan. 5 shooting.
"Well, to tell you the truth, I never expected to be involved in something like that," Chavez-Reyes said. "I believe in justice. I believe I told the detective you had to pay with something. I am willing to do it. Justice has to be served no matter what. The only thing I ask is don't be too hard on me."
While the concurrent sentences could keep him in prison until 2025, the sentencing guidelines suggested Chavez-Reyes could have been released in July, parole board member Robert Yeates said at the May 24 hearing.
Chavez-Reyes said he agreed to help Roman who awaits trial on capital murder and other charges after Roman wrecked the Cadillac he was driving in a snowbank while fleeing the shooting scene. Chavez-Reyes said he drove his friend to Salt Lake City because he believed Roman had a doctor's appointment. The two men went to a Salt Lake City home, where Chavez-Reyes said he played video games.
Meanwhile, police had tracked Roman's cellphone to Salt Lake County and a state trooper spotted an orange Corvette with the license plate belonging to the Cadillac near 1100 West and 300 South in Salt Lake City.
During a door-to-door search of the area, Chavez-Reyes said he gave officers his name and was told to leave the area. At a gas station a few blocks away, Chavez-Reyes said he panicked after Roman told him what had actually happened.
"I just helped this guy get away from the cops. That's the way they're looking at it," he said. "We're Mexicans. We're not in our country."
The men took a bus to Beaver, where they hid in a storage shed for several hours until police caught up with them.
Chavez-Reyes, who was sentenced to prison in October 2010, insists he never saw Roman, 38, throw a gun from the car or switch license plates.
Yeates said at the hearing that Chavez-Reyes' account "doesn't add up real good for me."
"We lost a life," he said. "A deputy was just trying to do her job. And that's a tragedy. It's a tragedy for the state of Utah. It's a tragedy for the sheriff's department. It's a tragedy for her family. I mean, you can't replace her."