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Catching Up On Court Cases From Over the Break

yolo_county_courthouseJurors, In Attempted Murder Case For Co-Defendants, Still In Deliberation

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.

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About David Greenwald

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.


  1. Just realized that there’s no date on Vanguard stories. So, when one goes from a link (other than the dated first page links), ones doesn’t know whether it’s a current story or not.

    On the other end, wouldn’t it be great to have the “number of comments” totals show up on the little boxes the home page.

    Finally, the “post comments” button is dark when comments have been entered (on the iPhone/iPad system). It then lights up after it’s pressed–just the opposite of what should happen.

  2. Guilty… both defendants Bristow & Stearman found guilty today on all counts. Justice has been served. Hopefully they will go away for a very long time. Victim, god bless you and you can finally feel safe once again!

  3. This was a doozie of a case but the defense was very weak and unbelievable to the juries. It was premediated attempted murder and only by the grace of God did the victim survive. And all due to child custody issues. A father trying to be involved in young children’s life especially when the mother isn’t mentally capable for a variety of reasons. The defense tried to paint the victim as a meth user and woman abuser and the fact just didn’t support this. Just another trial where the defense tried to pull out rabbits out of a magic hat and it didn’t work.

    The defendants are very lucky that they didn’t succeed, although if they had then the people responsible would never have been caught. The only inconsistencies that existed was the defendants story. Which is typical for drug users (Meth) who have lost their ability to reason and quick tempers resulted in a horrendous crime. It’s unfortunate the reporter in this case, has a slanted opinion during her reporting. However, that just shows how a defense attorney can create lies that are believable to some people. Thankfully both juries saw past the B.S. and did the right thing by convicting both defendants Bristow and Stearman of attempted murder as welll as every other additional charge the faced. Hopefully they will both go away for a very long time and society will be safer without them. Hard to imagine the continuing visitation and custody issues that face the vicim knowing this family put a hit out to kill him. Hopefully the courts will designate a safe exchange and the victim will not be attacked once again. It appears he is the only sane person in his children’s lives and they are so very young. I can’t even imagine having to deal with ex-relatives such as this.

    The reporting of the victim being abusive and molesting his children was a ridiculous accusation with no facts behind it. What a sad state that once again victim Mark Cullen, is victimized by your reporting of this nonsense that was only mentioned by the man who tried to kill him.

    No facts behind the accusation exist. But if you were facing life in prison, I guess you would lie to try to get out of it. The fact that defendant Danny Stearman nearly jumped out of the testimony chair and acted like a lunatic during the DA’s questioning just showed what a quick temper he has, even considering he’s been locked up in prison for over a year with no access to Meth. Bristow didn’t take the stand, and Stearman gave up all the details admitting his participation although yes he was very creative in his defense of a drug deal gone wrong.

    With all the hatred between the victim and the Stearman family, it was ridiculous to imagine the victim even did drugs (never missed a day of work in 2 years) and if he had wanted to he certainly would have never gotten them from the enemy Stearman family. Totally crazy but the private defense attorney was probably paid very well although in the end the truth of the case was clear to both juries and guilty on all counts were the verdicts for both Bristow and Stearman.

    Hopefully the victim can now have peace in his life knowing these people will be behind bars for a very long time. However his life will never be the same.

    • Just to clarify, we DID believe Mark Cullen has beat his ex wife, he has been arrested and charged for it in the past. However, nobody deserves the extent of pain Cullen endured from his in-law family. We spent a lot of time deliberating, this was not just an open and shut decision on our part (the jury of Danny Stearman).

      We do feel justice was serviced but will never feel that the innocent children involved are safe or well taken care of, in the hands of EITHER family.

  4. The red jury did not believe the supposed abuse allegations since both wife and husband had minor admission of abuse and both had been arrested. However no matter the issue was whether they tried to kill Cullen. That was an undeniable fact. Very sad case indeed for the children involved. Doubtful the future will hold any peace for any involved.

    • Well, he/she the TravelinLady who is sounding more and more like a very close contact of Mark Cullen’s, is now even demonizing the reporter of this article and accusing her of having a slanted view.

      It sounds as though you have a lot of rage inside of you. Have you thought of getting professional help or taking anger management classes?

  5. @travel lady…am I to assume you were a juror? You appear to know so much?

  6. Travel lady you seem to have great feeling for this mark Cullens guy and the narrow mindedness or should I say the closedmindedness you’ve shared is alittle alarming.you were one of the juriors.omg

  7. So did they ever get sentenced? If so what did bristow and steraman get ?

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