During a Saturday, March 24 closed proceeding, the Yolo County Grand Jury handed down a four-page indictment of the man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in downtown Winters back in November.
William Carl Gardner III is alleged to have shot Leslie Pinkston in the head the morning of November 18, 2013 as she sat sipping coffee in her SUV while waiting for her Railroad Avenue workplace to open. Pinkston was flown to a nearby hospital, but died of her grievous wounds soon afterward.
After the shooting, Gardner fled the scene and managed to elude a nationwide manhunt conducted by multiple agencies, including the Winters Police and the U.S. Marshals Service. He was captured on December 9 in Las Vegas after authorities received a tip as to his whereabouts, and was extradited back to the Yolo County Jail on December 31.
Gardner is accused, in addition to murdering Pinkston, of enhancements including “lying in wait” (i.e., the murder was premeditated) and murdering a witness. As to the latter enhancement, Pinkston was slated to testify three weeks after November 18 in Gardner’s trial for stalking her.
The special circumstances qualify Gardner for the death penalty. However, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office has yet to announce whether it will argue in favor of capital punishment for Gardner. A Grand Jury indictment precludes a preliminary hearing at which a judge normally would determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.
Judge David Rosenberg ordered Gardner to reappear in his court on April 22 for a trial date to be scheduled.
Davis Enterprise: Grand jury indicts Winters murder suspect