Sacramento freeway shooter granted parole, could be released. DA asks Newsom for review

Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho requested California Gov. Gavin Newsom this month to review the early prison release of an inmate who is serving a 90-year sentence for a series of freeway shootings in which bullets pierced victims’ car and grazed a woman’s leg.

A Board of Parole Hearings panel April 10 granted parole to Kyle Douglas Frank, 37, of Roseville, who was convicted in 2011 of eight counts of attempted murder and enhancements for shooting at Black or Latino victims. During one incident, a mother had her two children in the car. Two other victims reported Frank yelled racial slurs during one of the attacks, prosecutors said in a statement.

Frank, who was 25 when he was sentenced, has been incarcerated for 14 years, just 15% of his sentence, said the District Attorney’s Office. Jurors did not find true the hate crime allegations because the shooting spree appeared random and not targeted, according to previous Bee reporting.

Forensic analysis linked Frank’s .25-caliber Beretta semi-automatic handgun to the shootings, prosecutors said.

While in prison, Frank assaulted two inmates, prosecutors said in the statement. He also attempted to file motions to vacate his conviction, which were all denied.

Given the extreme violence and trauma inflicted on the victims in this case, this inmate should not have been granted parole after serving just fifteen percent of his prison sentence,” Ho said in a statement.

The decision to release Frank does not mean he is automatically released from prison, said Mary Xjimenez, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. A parole release is only final after it is reviewed by the Board of Parole Hearings within 120 days, she said.

After that review, Newsom would have 30 days to review the final parole decision, Xjimenez said.

District Attorney Ho said in a statement he’s asked the governor to refer Frank’s release to the full parole board, which consists of 21 commissioners appointed by Newsom.

It’s unclear what position Newsom will take on Frank’s case. The Governor’s Office said it has not yet received the case, according to a spokesperson.

Frank’s shooting spree stretched from August 2009 until September 2009 on capital freeways including Interstate 80 and Interstate 5.

In one September 2009 incident, Osiris Esparza and her aunt Monica Esparza headed home from ballet class in Natomas.

Frank began yelling at Monica Esparza after she unintentionally cut him off on eastbound Interstate 80. He accelerated and decelerated “in a way that prevented the victims’ vehicle from exiting the freeway,” prosecutors said.

Frank fired multiple shots that struck Osiris Esparza, who was 18 at the time, in the leg. Other bullets pierced her headrest and the seats where her children would have been buckled in.

Defense attorney Paul Irish told The Bee in 2011 that his client “was just really drunk” and also was using cocaine when he went on his freeway shooting sprees.

“He was depressed because he lost his job, lost his girlfriend and had to move back in with his father,” Irish said after the jury handed down a verdict. “He just reacted.”

Frank is currently being held at California Medical Facility in Vacaville.