Frank William Roberto has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for fleeing St. Petersburg police officers and then crashing and killing his passenger, Kenneth Davis.
A jury Thursday found Roberto, 41, guilty of vehicular homicide and fleeing law enforcement officers resulting in a death. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Michael Andrews sentenced him immediately afterward.
In January 2012, St. Petersburg police were watching Davis, a suspect in a purse-snatching. They considered him dangerous and heard he had threatened to shoot officers before going back to prison.
The police were not looking for Roberto. But after the two men got into a red Kia driven by Roberto in Gulfport, officers tried to stop them. Roberto pulled to the side of the road but then sped away, heading north on 49th Street. Officers pursued.
Roberto swerved around traffic and drove north in the southbound lanes before losing control around Fifth Avenue North. Both men were thrown from the car when it smashed into a truck. Roberto was injured; Davis was killed.
During the trial, Roberto and his defense attorneys said Davis was pointing a gun at him and making Roberto flee, which is why he tried to elude officers.
No gun was found.