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Utah 'neighborhood watch' shooting case resolved

Published May 15, 2014 6:46 am

Crime • Campos gets credit for time served, pleads guilty to weapons charge.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Following last year's decision by the Utah Court of Appeals to reverse a Bluffdale man's attempted murder conviction — for shooting and wounding a fellow neighborhood watch advocate — Reginald Campos settled his case with a plea deal.

Campos, 47, was convicted by a 3rd District Court jury of shooting fellow neighborhood watch advocate David Serbeck in 2009 because he believed Serbeck and another man were stalking his daughter.

Campos was convicted of first-degree felony attempted murder for shooting Serbeck and leaving him permanently paralyzed. He was later sentenced to up to life in prison.

He also was convicted of third-degree felony aggravated assault for pointing his gun at Serbeck's companion that night.

But Campos' attorney successfully argued before the appeals court in March that his trial lawyers so badly botched his case that the verdict should be thrown out. Last August, Campos' appeal won out, for the most part. The court issued a decision to reverse the attempted murder conviction, although it affirmed the conviction for aggravated assault, which cannot exceed a sentence of five years.

Last month, Campos pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree felony discharge of a firearm and Judge Mark Kouris immediately sentenced him to one to 15 years in prison, but granted Campos credit for time served and closed the case.

Based on a September 2013 parole hearing, Campos is to be paroled from prison on July 22, 2014, on the aggravated assault conviction, after having spent nearly four years in prison.

Campos shot Serbeck on the night of July 22, 2009, after Campos' teenage daughter came home and said she had been followed by an SUV.

Campos — a certified public accountant who had become a neighborhood watch advocate following a recent influx of crime in the area — responded by getting a gun and, with his daughter, venturing out into the neighborhood to find the SUV.

Bullen told the court in March that the girl felt she was being chased. Serbeck — who also had advocated forming a neighborhood watch program — and his companion that night, Troy Peterson, had reportedly followed Campos' daughter because they thought her vehicle was suspicious.

When Campos eventually spotted Serbeck's SUV, he pulled in front, forcing it to stop, and jumped out of his vehicle waving a gun and screaming about someone following his daughter, according to Serbeck's testimony at the trial.

During the ensuing confrontation, Serbeck, who also carried a loaded gun, claimed at trial that he lowered his gun by the barrel, kicked it away and stepped from behind his car door, saying, "Let's talk," before Campos shot Serbeck the chest, paralyzing him.

Serbeck is in prison for an unrelated crime. In March 2012, he was convicted on three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, all third-degree felonies. Last June, a judge ordered him to spend up to 10 years in prison for the crimes.

Prosecutors say Serbeck, 40, groomed a 17-year-old neighbor in the summer of 2007, exploiting her trouble with depression and having sex with her three times in his Magna home.






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