LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For the past three years, James Beach has been in prison after being convicted of killing Luis Campos with a single punch in 2017. Now, he said he's a changed man.
"I struggle with it every day," said Beach, of the fatal punch he threw that killed Luis Campos. "The weight, just, it's hard."
Beach told members of the parole board Monday he never intended to kill Campos that night in 2017. He said he didn't know then that one punch could result in death.
"I'm truly sorry from the bottom of my heart," said Beach. "I take full responsibility and I'll be accountable for the punishment that comes with it. I'm sorry."
Since Beach has been in prison, he has completed his GED and earned his high school diploma. He's gone to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and completed the Trust program, becoming a mediator between counselors.
He's taken classes on parenting, economics, entrepreneurship and cooking. He also earned a spot in the Hope for Prisoners program, which helps inmates transition to life outside prison with transitional housing, job training and emotional support services.
Beach said through this work, he's learned to recognize certain behaviors in himself - and how to address them.
"I'm a better man, a changed man," said Beach. "I don't want to live this life no more as a criminal. I don't want to live this life."
Beach has been locked up before but said this time has been different. He said he's been working on himself - ultimately for his girlfriend, son and stepdaughter.
"They need me. She needs me. I put all this weight on her. She has to do double the work. I see all that now. I didn't before," said Beach.
If granted parole, Beach said he has a job waiting for him, with a concrete company called Stonescapes. He plans to live at the Hope for Prisoners Casa Grande transitional house or with his grandma.
Beach's mom, Kathy Garcia, said it used to be difficult to talk to her son - he used to say he didn't matter even when she and his siblings told him he did. That, she said, has changed.
"His conversations are more deep than what they were before," said Beach. "He's always being positive. When he's on the phone with me, i always hear him talking to other people, it's so different from before. And the way he approaches people."
Beach said he understands his violent past will affect the way he's perceived but he believes he can be a success story - someone who has looked himself in the mirror and made the difficult changes to be a better person. For himself and his family.
"i just want to be their hero. I don't want to be a monster," said Beach.
The authorities at Monday's hearing will make a recommendation to the full parole board. It will take 4 of 7 board members to approve a parole release. A final decision is expected in a a few weeks.