Sacramento judge sentences man for beating his grandfather, 78, to death with baseball bat

A Sacramento Superior Court judge on Monday sentenced a man to 16 years to life in prison for beating his grandfather to death with a baseball bat two years ago.

A jury in late October found 37-year-old Frank Swanson IV guilty of second-degree murder in the March 26, 2020 bludgeoning death of his grandfather, 78-year-old Frank “Pete” Swanson II. His conviction also included an enhancement for using a dangerous and deadly weapon in the murder

Judge Michael Sweet handed down the maximum sentence for Swanson, who was convicted a few years earlier for beating his wife.

Swanson received a three-year suspended prison sentence and was referred to mental health court after beating his then-pregnant wife with a table leg as she held their child in 2014, according to the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. He graduated from the court program in 2018.

Prosecutors said Swanson in November 2019 moved in with his grandfather into his North Highlands home. In March 2020, Swanson became angry over a financial situation and stopped taking his medication for schizoaffective bipolar disorder, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.

On the day before the deadly attack, Swanson began “screaming and smashing things in the house,” prosecutors said. His grandfather threatened to kick him out of his home.

The following morning, a live-in caregiver went to obtain a restraining order against Swanson to keep him away from his grandfather. Later that day, Swanson walked over to his grandfather who was sitting at his computer. Prosecutors said “words were exchanged” between the two men before Swanson grabbed the baseball bat and hit his grandfather in the head several times with the bat.

Swanson then called 911 and told Sacramento County sheriff’s officials that he beat his grandfather with the bat. He told them his grandfather was dead at the home in the 3700 block of Bolivar Avenue.

Prosecutors said sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home and found the grandfather non-responsive, slumped over in a chair in front of the computer.

Sheriff’s officials said the deputies attempted life-saving measures before medics arrived and took the victim to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Prosecutors said the grandfather died of blunt force trauma.

On Tuesday afternoon, Swanson remained in custody at the Sacramento County Jail as he awaits transfer to prison.