by Antoinnette Borbon
William Gardner is being charged with lying in wait for his ex-girlfriend and then shooting her to death in Winters last year.
Gardner, whose lengthy criminal past included five prior incidents of domestic violence, as well as drug possession and vandalism, sat emotionless.
Both District Attorney Jeff Reisig and Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays argued to keep in evidence all prior incidents of domestic violence and all the crime scene photos, for the jurors to hear about and to view during the trial.
William Gardner, now 31 years old, had allegedly stalked Leslie Pinkston of Winters, California, before allegedly killing her in November of last year. He then fled to Las Vegas where U.S. Marshals, along with the Las Vegas Police Department, found him holed up in a friend’s apartment.
DDA Hays explained to Judge Mock that William Gardner, III, had become violent after every relationship with women who ended things with him.
She talked about Mr. Gardner’s pattern of acting out violently against the women who spurned him.
Ms. Hays went over each incident that Gardner had been convicted of in the past, stating, “In this case, Gardner’s actions were cold, brazen.” But in all of Gardner’s actions, he exhibited violence.
Ms. Hays read the last text from Pinkston to Gardner shortly before he allegedly killed her. “William, it’s done, I’m going to be with someone else.” Hays showed how Ms. Pinkston had ended the relationship and, “hours later was dead, was dead,” she stated.
Ms. Hays continued arguing, per her motion before the court, to keep these past incidents in evidence. Hays referred to a common scheme from the infamous case, People v. Spector, saying that it was similar to the case at hand.
Ms. Hays described that defendant Phil Spector, in the older case, also had prior incidents in which he was drunk and pulled a gun on ex-girlfriends after they spurned him.
She pointed out that the prosecution in the Spector case had been allowed to use the prior incidents in their case against the defendant.
Defense Attorney J. Toney argued that prior cases were prejudicial. One incident involving a prostitute, Mr. Toney argued, had no relevance to this case, nor did the vandalism done on a victim’s relative’s car after Gardner became angry at the victim for breaking up with him.
Hays continued to cite the Spector homicide case, where jurors were allowed to hear testimony about prior incidents of domestic violence. She asserted this evidence is not prejudicial but will portray Mr. Gardner’s nature.
She said his behavior has been incendiary in those instances, and the jurors should be allowed to hear testimony from prior convictions and/or witnesses from past cases against Gardner.
Judge Mock ruled to allow the past domestic violence cases into evidence, but disallowed the vandalism conviction.
CRIME SCENE PHOTOS
Photos of the crime scene and autopsy were discussed in evidentiary issues/motions, as well.
District Attorney Jeff Reisig requested all photos be left in evidence for jurors to view. He argued that the pathologist will need the photos to help explain to jurors the fatal shots to Ms. Pinkston’s head, which led to her death.
But the defense argued that some of the photos were of a very graphic nature. Toney stated, “Jurors may find them disturbing, causing them to have nightmares and be distracted emotionally.” It could be prejudicial, he argued.
Jeff Reisig discussed how a couple of photos showed Ms. Pinkston’s last move before the fatal shot to her head. He said she was trying to get away as Gardner fired the shots that ended her life and the photos will reveal that to jurors.
Reisig stated, “Murders are messy, but jurors are entitled to see the injuries that are relevant to Ms. Pinkston’s cause of death.” He asserted that the pathologist will need them to help explain the fatal wounds.
Judge Mock stated, “Although I realize prosecution wants to humanize this case, I do feel that pictures of Ms. Pinkston with her daughter could be prejudicial, they tear at my heart strings and may also with jurors.”
He ruled to allow all photos, with the exception of the mother/daughter one and a couple of extremely graphic photos of the autopsy.
Jury selection begins with a questionnaire, and opening arguments are estimated to be heard by Thursday morning.