Crime, Fire + Courts

DA won’t pursue death penalty in Winters homicide case

By From page A3 | July 01, 2014


William Carl Gardner III. Courtesy photo

The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office will not seek the death penalty against the man accused of gunning down his former girlfriend in Winters last year.

William Carl Gardner III, 31, is scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 18, nine months to the day after he allegedly shot Leslie Pinkston to death as she sat in her vehicle outside her Railroad Avenue workplace and fled the scene, setting off a nationwide manhunt that ended with Gardner’s arrest in Las Vegas three weeks later.

The Yolo County grand jury issued an indictment in the case in March, handing down a three-count complaint charging Gardner with first-degree murder, stalking after a conviction for felony domestic violence and possession of a firearm by an ex-felon. The murder count also carries multiple charging enhancements, including the special-circumstance allegations of lying in wait and murder of a witness.

Pinkston, 32, was slated to testify against Gardner in a pending stalking and criminal threats case at the time of her death.

Although the special circumstances qualify Gardner for the death penalty, the DA’s office filed a notice in May indicating it would not pursue capital punishment in the case. If convicted of all charges, Gardner could receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gardner has pleaded not guilty to the charges outlined in the indictment. He is being held without bail at the Yolo County Jail while awaiting his trial, which is expected to last about three weeks in Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock’s courtroom.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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