San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar is pleased to announce that Governor Edmund G. Brown has denied parole to Adrian Gutierrez, reversing an earlier decision by the Board of Parole Hearings. Gutierrez had been granted parole on September 12, 2017 by the Board despite the strong opposition of the District Attorney and the victim's surviving family members. After the Board's decision, Supervising Deputy District Attorney Robert Himelblau immediately petitioned the Governor to reverse the Board's decision.
Gutierrez was convicted by a jury for the September 18, 1992, murder of Kelly Freed. On the evening of September 18, Ms. Freed was with three friends on a double date. After dinner, the four-some were headed southbound on Pacific Avenue in Stockton when Carlos Ojeda (then 15 and driving) and Gutierrez (then 16) pulled up behind them. The driver of Ms. Freed's car saw the lights of Ojeda's car were not turned on even though it was dark out. When the two cars were alongside one another, the driver of Ms. Freed's car motioned to Ojeda that his lights were off. Apparently taking this gesture as a sign of disrespect, Gutierrez pointed a 9-millimeter M-11 automatic machine pistol at them. Ms. Freed and her companions drove away westbound on March Lane but Ojeda and Gutierrez chased them. They eventually ended up in the parking lot of a Mervyn's department store. Once in the parking lot, Gutierrez leaned out the window and fired a single gunshot from his M-11 machine pistol. The 9mm bullet hit Ms. Freed in the back, piercing her heart and exiting out of her chest. Her last words were, "I've been hit." Ms. Freed was 29.
Gutierrez and Ojeda were arrested by Stockton Police shortly after a high speed pursuit that reached speeds up to 95 mph.
In August of 1993, Gutierrez was sentenced to 20 years to life. Two months later he was sentenced to an additional five years in prison for his part in an attempted escape from the San Joaquin County juvenile facility where he was being held for Ms. Freed's murder.
During his time in prison, Gutierrez committed numerous violations including a weapon's violation while housed at Pelican Bay State Prison which resulted in another conviction.
Gutierrez will be eligible for another parole hearing within 18 months. The District Attorney will again join Ms. Freed's family in opposing his release into the community.