A Salt Lake City man sentenced to prison for his role in the beatings of a gay man and his partner said he’s sorry the incident happened, but said the victims were still responsible for the attack.
Ricky Peace, 35, Ieti Mageo, 34, and Ietitaia Tavita Nuusila, 27, were sentenced to zero to five years for the brutal beating of David James “DJ” Bell-Fair and his partner, Dan, in 2008. The three attackers were sentenced in May and their first parole hearing was held Sept. 29. Peace has a tentative parole date for Dec. 31, 2013; Mageo is scheduled for Dec. 16, 2014 and Nuusila is scheduled for Dec. 11, 2012. These dates are dependent on good behavior and the completion of various evaluations and treatments.
After being brutally beaten, DJ endured a grueling trial where he was accused of kidnapping. He was later acquitted on all counts and the jury called the trial a “travesty” and a waste of taxpayer dollars. His original accusers went on to be tried, found guilty and sentenced. DJ said the attackers used gay slurs and the attack was hate motivated. However, Peace said he still believes DJ kidnapped his children.
“I know what he did, he knows what he did. And he tries to put it off like he was totally innocent from the beginning, this is 100 percent our fault, he had nothing to do with anything, he did nothing wrong, when I know for a fact him, his boyfriend — they both admitted he kidnapped our kids,” Peace said. “Yeah, he may have got acquitted. But evidence was hidden and he knows it, that he was guilty.”
DJ has since moved to Seattle, but he said in a phone interview he is not pleased with the prospect of his attackers being released.
“It’s so sad that just three months after their sentencing they’re up for parole,” DJ said. “And while usually the first parole is denied, I am so sad that we have to do this all again.”
At the parole hearing, Mageo and Nuusila said they each drank 20 or 30 beers when they were told the children were missing the night they attacked DJ and Dan.
“It just happened so fast,” Mageo said in the hearing. “I’m sorry that we had to go through this.”
The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole usually releases decisions on parole after about a month of deliberation.