A 43-year-old criminal street gang member serving a life sentence in prison after being convicted of multiple attempted murders in Santa Rosa in 1997 was denied parole on Tuesday, according to the Sonoma County district attorney’s office. The California Board of Prison Terms denied parole to Santa Rosa resident Mario Gaburel who, at the age of 26, agreed to a plea bargain and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. Prior to his incarceration in 1997, Gaburel was living with his then-girlfriend and teenage stepson in Santa Rosa.
Both Gaburel and his stepson were members of the Sureno criminal street gang, according to the district attorney’s office. When Gaburel’s stepson told him that rival gang members had recently stabbed him, Gaburel planned a retaliation assault, according to the district attorney. Gaburel obtained an AK-47 rifle and on Feb. 21, 1997, Gaburel’s stepson told him that the rival gang members responsible for the stabbing were inside a vehicle stopped at a red light outside their home, in the area of West Ninth Street and Simpson Place, according to the district attorney’s office.
Gaburel and his stepson exited the house and Gaburel approached the vehicle with the automatic weapon, opening fire on four teenagers seated within it, prosecutors said. The pair retreated back into the home, where Gaburel reportedly told the teen boy, “Don’t talk, or you’ll go down too,” the district attorney’s office said. All four victims were treated for gunshot wounds at Kaiser Hospital and survived the shooting.
The shooting followed a spree of violence between gang members, which left five people shot, four people stabbed and at least six others beaten, police said in 1997. Gaburel pleaded guilty and was convicted of attempted murder, as well as firearm and criminal street gang enhancements. On Tuesday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation held a hearing to determine whether Gaburel remained “an unreasonable risk of harm to the public,” or whether he should be released from prison on parole, the district attorney’s office said.
After taking testimony from Gaburel, reviewing prison files and psychiatric evaluations, and hearing arguments from both Gaburel’s attorney and Deputy District Attorney Jamie Kandel, the Board issued a seven-year denial of parole. Ravitch said Gaburel “committed a premeditated gang retaliation shooting, continues to deny responsibility, and remains violent while incarcerated.”
She said her office is “pleased that he will not be considered for release back into the community for seven more years.” The Board noted that Gaburel had not accepted responsibility for the crime, failed to participate in rehabilitative programs offered in prison that could develop his educational, employment and life skills. Gaburel will not be eligible for parole again until 2021, at which time another hearing will occur, according to the district attorney’s office.
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