OGDEN — “I know I made some bad choices in my short life,” said Jose Zamora, shackled and clad in an orange jumpsuit.
“Never did I mean for my actions to go as far as it did,” he continued.
Zamora, a 24-year-old Ogden man, has been held in jail since he was accused of killing his neighbor, 74-year-old David Martin Paulson, in July 2018.
In September, Zamora signed off on a plea agreement that consisted of a guilty plea to one count of murder, a first-degree felony. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped one count of obstructing justice, a second-degree felony. Zamora admitted to “intentionally or knowingly caused the death of another,” according to the plea agreement.
Zamora was arrested shortly after Paulson’s body was found bloodied and beaten around 7 a.m. on July 16, 2018, behind an Ogden restaurant near the intersection of 26th Street and Monroe Boulevard.
On Tuesday, Zamora stood alongside his attorney, Michael Boyle, as he apologized to the court and Paulson’s family for his actions.
“I take full responsibility for my actions,” Zamora said. “I let my emotions and anger get the best of me.”
Zamora said he knows that nothing he could say could bring Paulson back, but he expressed his regret several times. He added that he wanted to make the most of his prison sentence, and talked about his desire to learn whatever skills he could to be successful rejoin society, if he is ever released, he said.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart,” Zamora said.
Boyle acknowledged that Judge Camille Neider was bound by state statute in the case and she had little choice but to sentence Zamora to at least the next 15 years in prison. However, he hoped that Zamora could have a shot at parole once the 15 year period was finished.
No one was at the hearing to the court on Paulson’s behalf, but a man who identified himself as a friend to Paulson submitted a letter to the court that Neider silently read.
Neider thanked Zamora for his willingness to accept responsibility for his actions, and said the case is sad because Zamora is so young. However, she said Zamora’s length of time in prison would be up to him.
“So much can happen in the next 15 years, but either your conduct will allow you to be released, or your conduct will keep you there,” Neider said.
Zamora was sentenced to a term of 15 years in a Utah state prison, and he was ordered to pay a restitution amount of $2,842 to help pay for Paulson’s funeral expenses.
Neider added that she will recommend the Utah Board of Pardons give Zamora credit for the time he has served in the Weber County Jail, where he has been incarcerated since July 2018.
Zamora will be transferred to the custody of the Utah Department of Corrections to begin his prison term.