Man paroled after 29 years in jail for Modesto shooting death

local@modbee.comAugust 23, 2013 

— A man convicted of shooting to death a Modesto resident after breaking into his home in 1982 has been granted parole after spending 29 years in prison, according to the Stanislaus County district attorney's office.

A parole board found inmate Frank Ford, 49, of Modesto, suitable to be released during a hearing Aug. 7 at the Solano state prison in Vacaville, disagreeing with prosecutors.

Deputy District Attorney John Goulart appeared at the hearing and argued for continued confinement based on the cruel and callous manner in which the crime was carried out and the unreasonable risk to the public.

Ford was 17 on June 6, 1982, when he and three others went to the home of Dixon Flinders to rob him. Prosecutors said Ford's group knocked on Flinders' door and announced themselves as narcotics investigators.

Flinders refused to open the door, so the robbers kicked it open. Prosecutors said Ford saw Flinders standing in his bedroom doorway holding a rifle, so Ford shot and killed him with one shot to the chest.

Ford and his accomplices then robbed a 19-year-old girl at the home, stealing her purse, some seashells, a tape player and Flinders' rifle.

A jury convicted Ford of first-degree murder with the use of a gun, first-degree burglary and robbery. On March 19, 1984, Ford was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison.

He has been eligible for parole for 12 years but has been found unsuitable for parole at each hearing until now. Ford has not violated prison rules in the past eight years and has completed several vocational and educational programs.

Prosecutors said Ford has accepted responsibility for the crime, expressed remorse for his actions and submitted detailed written self-assessments to the parole panel that offered insight into why he committed such a heinous crime.

Tracy Lum, Ford's attorney, submitted several letters of support that included job offers and arrangements for a place to live once Ford is released.

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