Tuesday , May 22, 2018 - 5:15 AM
Travis Telford watched Troy Weston’s life leak away 24 years ago and says he regrets today not being able to tell Weston why.
“I feel I really disrespected Troy because when he died he was laying there on the ground trying to talk, and all that was coming out was these big bubbles of blood, and he was trying to say why, and I don’t know,” Telford said at his recent parole hearing.
“Because there really was no reason,” finished Angela Micklos of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. “Because it was senseless.”
In 1995, Telford, 23 at the time, was sentenced to 6 to 105 years at the Utah State Prison for the March 12, 1994, shooting of Weston, whose body was found in a ditch near Willard Bay, shot six times with a .22 pistol.
At his parole hearing May 8, Micklos praised Telford for coming to grips with his faults and understanding the consequences of his actions, according to an audio transcript of the hearing.
Two days later, the board voted to grant Telford parole effective June 26. Telford likely will be released to the state prison halfway house in Ogden. He will receive mental health and substance abuse treatment and cognitive behavioral therapy.
According to court records, Telford and a co-defendant, Brandon Dahlquist, gave conflicting accounts of the crime. Dahlquist said he was not there, but Telford said Dahlquist pulled the trigger.
Telford said he and Dahlquist picked up Weston in Ogden to take him out to Willard Bay to show him a gun Weston was interested in buying. But a fellow inmate of Dahlquist’s later told police Weston was killed because “he was a rat.”
A Box Elder County jury convicted both men of murder. The Utah Supreme Court later ruled police violated Dahlquist’s Miranda rights, overturning his conviction, and he was acquitted in a retrial.
At his parole hearing, Telford said he was “rather impulsive” when the murder happened.
“I was stunted mentally because of my drug and alcohol use in my teenage years,” he said. “My impulse control is under rein now, I would think just due to age. Because as you age you realize you’re stupid and you grow up.”
Story continues below image.
Micklos commended Telford for gaining “insight into how you have harmed people and the role substance abuse played in all of this.”
Telford said he taught stress and anger management classes at the prison for a few years before the state discontinued using non-certified instructors.
How do you control stress and anger now, Micklos asked him.
“I crochet up a storm,” he said. “Practice meditation and do yoga. I remove myself from the situation. I’ve tried to base my decisions on the rational instead of the emotional.”
Telford said he planned to live with his father in Brigham City after he’s paroled. Telford’s father and sister attended the parole hearing.
None of Weston’s relatives were at the hearing. Efforts to contact his family were not successful.
But Telford told Micklos he’s worried about being able to adjust to life outside after nearly a quarter of a century behind bars.
“I don’t know society,” he said. “I wouldn’t know how to act. I’ve been locked up so long. It blows people away I’ve never been on the internet.”
After talking to fellow prison inmates, he’s leery about going to a halfway house.
“The environment of a halfway house is not an environment that would be good for staying out of prison,” he said. “Most people treat it as a ‘halfway back’ program, to make a little money so they can live when they get back here in prison.”
He said he’s tired of living with “antisocial people.”
“Quite frankly, this place sucks,” he said. “I want to make sure that I don’t become a bonehead like all the people I live around and just come through the revolving gate.”
Sign up for e-mail news updates.