Jury convicts man of deadly shooting at Salt Lake City park

Courts • Francisco Alverez faces up to life in prison whenhe is sentenced.
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A 57-year-old man was convicted Thursday by a jury of a deadly shooting last year at a Salt Lake City park.

Francisco Alverez was convicted of first-degree felony murder for the May 2011 death of 29-year-old Jorge Veracruz.

Alverez also was convicted of second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and third-degree felony discharge of a weapon.

He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 4 by 3rd District Judge Elizabeth Hruby­-Mills.

Alverez and Veracruz were part of a group hanging out and drinking in Riverside Park, 700 North and 1400 West in Salt Lake City, on the evening of May 5, 2011.

The two men began arguing, and soon there was talk of fighting. When Veracruz walked away, Alverez fired three shots from a semiautomatic handgun, prosecutors say.

Veracruz was hit in the back of the right arm. A second round went into the right side of his back. A third shot hit the left side of his back, piercing his spleen, stomach and aorta before stopping in his lung.

Defense attorneys have said Alverez was protecting himself from a perceived threat and believed Veracruz was going to rob him and fired only when he saw the victim reaching for something in a bag.

A mistrial was declared in October after a witness offered testimony that defense attorneys said tainted the jury.

Alverez was convicted of homicide in 1980 for running over 59-year-old David Bingham with a truck in Ogden the previous year. Alverez was paroled in 1985 but has spent time in state and federal prison since then for various crimes.


Twitter: @aaronfalk