Winters Murder Suspect Arraigned; Death Penalty Possible
Accused of killing his ex-girlfriend, William Carl Gardner stood mute and expressionless on January 3 in Woodland Superior Court as Judge David Rosenberg read out loud a long litany of allegations against him.
Gardner, 30, a Sacramento resident, faces one count of murder for allegedly walking across Railroad Avenue in downtown Winters the morning of November 18 and shooting Leslie Pinkston in the head as she sat in her SUV in front of Aleco Electric, where she was employed.
The murder charge includes the special circumstances enhancement of “lying in wait,” plus one count of stalking, and another count of illegally possessing a firearm because Gardner was previously convicted of a felony. Another enhancement stemmed from the facts that Gardner was out on bail for an offense for which he had yet to be tried at the time of Pinkston’s death.
Gardner was arrested December 10 after escaping the downtown Winters crime scene and running for three weeks. His arrest came in Las Vegas after a six hour standoff. Police had surrounded the apartment in which Gardner had holed up with what authorities said were “friends” of his.
Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven told reporters his office has not decided yet whether to seek the death penalty against Gardner. The special circumstances enhancements make Gardner eligible for the ultimate punishment. Raven said the investigation into Gardner’s alleged crimes continues.
Commissioner Janene Beronio normally presides over the court’s arraignments. But Rosenberg took over this arraignment. He also assigned this case to his own courtroom and scheduled Gardner
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