by Antoinnette Borbon
The fifteen-day trial with co-defendants, David Bristow and Danny Stearman, has jurors in deep deliberation. The two defendants have been charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, along with enhancements.
According to DDA Rob Gorman, the co-defendants willfully planned to ambush Mark Cullen and kill him on the night of September 30. But their attempt proved futile. Cullen survived being stabbed, shot, and run over.
On the contrary, defense would put Danny Stearman on the stand to tell of a long history of domestic violence against his disabled niece from her ex, Cullen, who was a habitual liar and meth user. At one point during trial, the jurors would even learn, from witness John Winterset, how the alleged victim was molesting Stearman’s niece and nephew. However, it was in brief and not proven.
The trial had two jury panels and was filled with twists and turns, much like a novel. Many witnesses would give lengthy testimony before the powerfully engaging closing arguments from DDA Rob Gorman and defense attorneys, Steven Sabbadini and Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt, were heard.
The trial even exhibited juror misconduct, but at this time it is unclear to the Vanguard what may become of that, if anything.
A written report was brought to the attention of the court, in regard to the incidents. However, these jurors remained on the panel and were sent out to deliberate; it raises concern.
Jurors will begin the third week of deliberations,excluding the holidays, for the co-defendants in the morning.
Accused Killer Of Winters Woman Gets Held Without Bail
by Antoinnette Borbon
Walking into the small courtroom, with his head held high, was the man who is being charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend of Winters, California.
Judge Dave Rosenberg made no bones about reading over all the charges against William Gardner, even after defense attorney J. Toney asked them not to be read at that time.
Gardner has added enhancements with each charge. Lying in wait, stalking, use of a firearm, to name a few, added to first degree murder.
But it didn’t appear to affect Gardner. He sat quietly listening to Rosenberg read the long list. Afterward, he entered a plea of “not guilty.”
Rosenberg would a “no bail” in regard to the murder charge but a $90,000 bail for a prior case Gardner was still going to court over before his release from jail on the Friday before he allegedly killed Leslie Pinkston.
In a press conference the Vanguard attended, Police Chief Sergio Gutierrez stated he had no information as to why Pinkston and/or her family were not notified of Gardner’s release prior to the shooting death.
In the courtroom you could hear sobs from family and friends of Pinkston’s who attended the arraignment.
Gardner, as stated, would plead “not guilty.”
He will be back in court on January 10 at 8:30 in Dept.4.
Judge Denies Motion To Continue New Trial For Four-Defendant Alleged Gang Case
by Antoinnette Borbon
On Friday morning the four young men accused of beating and robbing a Woodland man near the 7-Eleven will begin their new trial.
The four defendants were charged with beating James Nichols and stealing his groceries while stating gang slurs. But Nichols and his girlfriend would stick to the story they first told cops.
Both Nichols and his girlfriend would state they could not identify the boys, when asked by counsel during trial.
Nichols and his girlfriend testified to some of the statements being falsely written in police reports.
In November, after deliberating a few days, jurors were divided, thus ending in a hung jury.
It was felt by DDA Robin Johnson that the alleged victim and his girlfriend were afraid to identify the perpetrators in fear of retaliation, after hearing Nichols testify to being jumped several times since the arrest of co-defendants.
However, Nichols on the stand would state he never backed down to people and in one part stated, “I don’t care what happens to them,” only to contradict his own testimony on another day with, “I don’t want to see these kids go to prison.”
The emotional closing by Jeff Raven and co-counsels would raise questions. Defense pointed out many holes and missing witnesses from the store that night, whose testimony may have proven to be exculpatory.
In the morning the four young defendants will be brought back to begin the new trial.
Three of the young men are still in custody and one was released on OR after the first trial.