SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – The Utah Court of Appeals overturned the attempted murder conviction of Reginald Campos on Thursday during an incident where he shot and paralyzed another man in 2009.Although the appellate court overturned the conviction, they upheld Campos’s conviction on aggravated assault.
Kathy Campos said her husband filed an appeal in November 2012. She always believed attempted murder was the wrong charge and is grateful the appellate court overturned it.
“In my heart I knew that was the decision they were going to make because the charge in the first place never made sense,” she said. “It just did not fit what happened that night.”
In 2009, Campos shot David Serbeck in their Bluffdale neighborhood after his daughter came home in a panic. She said Serbeck was following her a group of friends.
Serbeck, an unofficial neighborhood watchman, said he was patrolling the area looking for suspected burglars.
Kathy said at the time detectives were quick to place blame on her daughter and teenage friends. For them it was a scary experience.
“They were terrified of these men chasing them in the night,” she said. “What else do they do, but call their dad?”Campos’s daughter, Stephanie, said she has lived with guilt for years and is ready to move on. She called the successful appeal a relief.
Campos argued his defense attorney made several mistakes during the trial that included a failure to request special jury instructions on extreme emotional distress. Nor did the defense attorney object to the jury verdict form or statements prosecutors made in closing arguments.
“While each instance alone might no be sufficiently prejudicial to require reversal in this case, taken as a whole trial counsel’s deficient performance undermines our confidence in the verdict on the attempted murder charge,” the court wrote in its ruling.
Campos is now eligible for a new trial, but Kathy said she hopes the state doesn’t make that decision. After three years in prison, she wants her husband to return home.’
“I’m just praying the state leave it alone now and doesn’t try to re-try it,” she said. “We’ve had to deal with a lot, but I think we’re stronger. We’ve always believed in Reggie. He’s a great guy.”
The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has not made a determination yet as to what will happen with the case.