A 57-year-old man who shot and killed another man during an argument at a Salt Lake City park was sentenced to prison Monday.
A jury in December convicted Francisco Alverez of first-degree felony murder for the May 2011 death of 29-year-old Jorge Veracruz. He was also convicted of second-degree felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and third-degree felony discharge of a weapon.
On Monday, 3rd District Judge William Barrett sentenced Alverez to spend no less than 15 years and up to life in prison for his crimes.
Alverez and Veracruz were part of a group who were drinking in Riverside Park, 700 N. 1400 West, on the evening of May 5, 2011.
An argument broke out, followed by talks of a fight. When Veracruz walked away, Alverez fired three shots from a semiautomatic handgun, prosecutors said.
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.
Alverez's defense attorneys have said Alverez was protecting himself he believed Veracruz was going to rob him and fired only when he saw the man reaching for something in a bag.
Alverez will begin serving his sentence immediately.
This was not Alverez's first homicide conviction.
In 1980, Alverez was convicted of homicide for running over 59-year-old David Bingham with a truck in Ogden the previous year. He was paroled in 1985 but has spent time in state and federal prison since then for various other crimes.