Crime, Fire + Courts

Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

By From page A2 | April 23, 2014


William Carl Gardner III. Courtesy photo

WOODLAND — The case of a Winters homicide suspect was delayed several weeks while Yolo County prosecutors determine whether to seek the death penalty against the defendant.

William Carl Gardner III, 30, was indicted by the Yolo County grand jury last month on charges including first-degree murder with the special circumstances of murder of a witness and lying in wait, both of which make him eligible for capital punishment.

Gardner is accused of fatally shooting his former girlfriend, 32-year-old Leslie Pinkston, on the morning of Nov. 18 as she sat in her vehicle on Railroad Avenue in downtown Winters. He was arrested several weeks later after fleeing to Las Vegas and has pleaded not guilty.

Pinkston was slated to testify against Gardner in a pending stalking, criminal threats and vandalism case in which she and her mother were victims, authorities said.

Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays, who is trying the case alongside District Attorney Jeff Reisig, said in court Tuesday they expect to know by Gardner’s next court date on May 13 whether they will pursue the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gardner’s defense lawyer, J. Toney, said whether a trial date is set at that time depends on the DA’s decision, as “there may be substitution of counsel depending on the decision on the penalty.”

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

Lauren Keene

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