A man convicted of a 1999 homicide in Oakdale was found unsuitable for parole in a hearing by the State Board of Parole in Vacaville late last month.
Stephen J. Durbin, now 65, shot and killed his sleeping 16-year-old son, Brandon, in the family’s River Bluff Drive home on May 16, 1999. After the shooting, Durbin called 911 and confessed to Oakdale Police over the telephone.
The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office contested the parole stating Durbin would be a risk to the community and showed no signs of remorse for the killing. The parole board agreed and denied the parole adding that Durbin lacked insight to why he committed killing his own son.
Leader news stories for the shooting show that after Durbin , a mechanic at the time for Hunt-Wesson in Oakdale, called 911 at 12:30 p.m. that Sunday afternoon, police found him waiting outside the house and the responding officers took him into custody. Officers found Brandon Durbin lying on the living room couch with a gunshot wound to his head and also a .22 caliber rifle in the house they believe was the murder weapon.
The 16-year-old Oakdale High School sophomore was still alive and airlifted to Memorial Hospital in Modesto. He was later taken off life support and pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m. that day.
Oakdale Police Sergeant Joe Carrillo was the lead detective for the 1999 investigation. He recalled that during questioning Durbin was very stoic.
“It seemed as if he wasn’t remorseful at all,” Sgt. Carrillo said when contacted by The Leader this week. “He was very matter-of-fact. It seemed as if he had anger and did it with anger.”
Sgt. Carrillo said the investigation showed that there had been an argument over Brandon not wanting to go to a rabbit show where he was known for showing prize rabbits.
“Durbin made a statement similar to he had no choice to do it,” Sgt. Carrillo said.
During preliminary hearings for the murder, Durbin was sent to Atascadero for mental evaluations.
On June 28, 2000, Durbin was sentenced to 18 years-to-life for second-degree murder and being armed with a firearm during the crime.
This was Durbin’s first parole hearing since his conviction. He will be eligible for another parole hearing in 2021.