By Jordan Lee
William Gardner III, who was charged with the murder of Leslie Pinkston, was found guilty of a first-degree murder. He received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On November 18, 2013, William Gardner III waited in the back seat of his ex-girlfriend Leslie Pinkston’s BMW. When she returned to her vehicle, Gardner fatally shot her and fled the scene of the crime.
The morning of the sentencing began with statements being read by both parties. In his statement, William Gardner III scorned the court and the judicial system. He even defamed his own attorney, J. Toney, by calling him “a racist.”
The statements by the prosecution included close family members of Leslie Pinkston. A close relative said with heavy emotion, “William took from our family a branch. There is no end to the pain and horror he caused.” Another relative exclaimed, “He broke us and a year later we are still looking for those pieces.” Gardner just sat there during the statements, and did not react or make any eye contact.
Judge Stephen Mock then began reading aloud the jury verdict for the six felony offenses and multiple enhancements.
On Count 1, the murder of Leslie Pinkston, the verdict was first-degree murder with an additional enhancement for attempting to eliminate a witness. For this verdict, he received life in prison without parole. Tears and sighs of relief could be heard throughout the room.
He was also charged with the use of a firearm, murder committed while out on bail, stalking after a felony offense of domestic violence, criminal threat, and vandalism.
As William Gardner III was taken out of the courtroom to serve his sentence, he looked straight at a news camera and stated, “The judge is a Klansman.”
When questioned about Mr. Gardner’s behavior, District Attorney Jeff Reisig stated, “I don’t have anything to say about Mr. Gardner, his behavior has been spiteful since the start. I am grateful for the jury verdict.”