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Parole granted to convicted south Modesto gang member who pistol whipped victim
parole board

A 33-year-old convicted street gang felon who robbed a woman and clubbed her in the skull with a gun in a 2006 south Modesto robbery will be a free man.

During a Jan. 27 parole hearing at San Quentin State Prison, David Garcia Montalbo III, 33, was granted parole. Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Sara Sousa told the board that Montalbo has never accepted responsibility for the crime nor apologized to his victims for his violent conduct. She also argued Montalbo remained an unreasonable risk of danger to society given his lifelong association with the Norteno criminal street gang since he was nine, his prolific juvenile criminal history and his most recent prison rule violation.

Montalbo was 19 during the robbery which made him eligible for early parole consideration under the Youthful Offender law signed in 2016 by Governor Jerry Brown.

In granting parole in his first-ever parole hearing, the board found that Montalbo qualified as a “youthful offender,” had undergone an extensive amount of self-help programming and did not present a risk to society based on a psychological assessment. The board gave great weight to the facts that Montalbo had a very turbulent childhood was just 19 at the time.

On July 7, 2006 at approximately 11:21 p.m., Jacklyn Swift was returning to her home on Lassen Avenue in south Modesto with grandson Mario Sisto, when Montalbo approached their vehicle shouting “Night Owls,” the name of a Modesto criminal street gang. Montalbo then struck Swift in the head with a gun. When Sisto got out of the car, Montalbo pointed the  gun in his face and demanded money, again shouting, “Night Owls.” Montalbo then struck Sisto three times in the back of the head with the gun. As Sisto ran off, Montalbo fired shots at him but missed.

Montalbo was convicted on Jan. 5, 2010 of two counts of attempted robbery with enhancements for using a firearm and committing the crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang. He was also convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and participating in a criminal street gang. On Feb. 18, 2010, Judge Ricardo Cordova sentenced Montalbo to 32 years in state prison.

Since being in custody for the last 14 years, Montalbo was caught violating prison rules twice, once in 2010 for refusing to accept housing and once in 2015 for conspiracy to forge documents.