SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A man convicted of killing a Utah highway Patrol trooper in 1993 has been granted release on parole next March when he'll have served nearly 27 years of his life sentence.

The parole board announced Friday approval of parole for 43-year-old Jason Scott Pearson who said during a July hearing he was sorry for being "a coward" when he fatally shot Trooper Dennis "Dee" Lund in Emery County during a pursuit after Pearson and a friend stole gas.

Pearson said during the hearing he should have pulled over and taken responsibility. He was 18 in 1993.

Lund's father Rod Lund urged the board to keep Pearson in prison to protect the public but he told The Salt Lake Tribune Saturday he will accept the decision and give Pearson "a chance."