Defendant Accused of Pepper Spraying, Threatening to Kill Alleged Neighborhood Bully

By Genesis Guzman

SACRAMENTO, CA – Bernard Williams will stand trial in Sacramento County Superior Court after his preliminary hearing here Wednesday on assault charges for allegedly pepper spraying and threatening a “neighborhood bully,” according to his defense attorney.

Deputy District Attorney Celeena Wall questioned Officer James Lindsey in the Sacramento County Superior Court regarding his report from May 4, much of it provided by the alleged victim.

The victim told the officer she did not know the defendant, but she had seen him every day for the past four months because he frequented the neighborhood, usually to summon his girlfriend who stayed in a neighbor’s house.

The incident allegedly began when the victim saw Williams park his vehicle in another neighbor’s driveway and she took it upon herself to confront him, asking him to move. She claimed to have done this standing outside from the passenger side of the car while Williams was inside the driver’s seat.

Williams’ private defense counsel Emily Koehler noted the altercation had in fact been started because the victim was using racial slurs toward the defendant. She, the victim, was referred to as the “neighborhood bully,” said Koehler.

After the preliminary hearing ended, the defense motioned to begin the bail hearing where the defense said that the victim was known to be very problematic in the neighborhood. She had “attempted to run over people with her vehicle, threatened to shoot and kill numerous neighbors including the garbage man and the city workers,” according to the defense.

It was also revealed by the defense during the bail hearing Williams had actually been seen by neighborhood witnesses, who said he had his leg outside the car when the victim approached by the driver’s side. And that the victim allegedly kicked and slammed the door into the defendant’s leg, which started the argument.

When the victim approached the defendant, said the defense, the defendant became defensive and pepper sprayed her in the face. But the defendant said she was able to turn her face so it only partially hit her face.

The victim allegedly, after being pepper sprayed, was able to write down the car’s license plate number and call the non-emergency phone line. While she was doing this she claimed to the officer that the defendant came out of his car and began swinging a screwdriver at her and threatening to kill her. She was never hit by the alleged screwdriver.

The victim claimed that her calling the police upset the defendant. But defense attorney Koehler said there is no record of the call.

The victim also alleged the defendant pulled out a small back handgun and pointed it at her.

Officer Lindsey said he spoke to a family member of the defendant’s and he provided the name of his caretaker. Record checks of the caretaker found several domestic violence reports where the listed suspect was Bernard Williams, the defendant.

At one point during the altercation the victim was able to take pictures of the suspect inside the car and the officer then compared the photo of Williams from the records to the man in the photo of the victim and it was a match.

However, when the officer questioned the girlfriend about her boyfriend’s name, she provided a different name than the defendant.

Sergeant Joseph Ellis was called next and he testified that he followed up on the victim and asked her if she had been afraid during the altercation, to which she responded, “Hell, yeah [I] didn’t want to turn [my] back on the suspect because [I] was afraid he would get [me].” She had also believed the gun to be real and was afraid he would shoot her.

Defense attorney Koehler later said the defense’s investigation of other neighbors who observed this altercation said they saw no weapons, such as a screwdriver or a firearm.  Also, the victim spoke to defense investigators and told them there was never any threat “I’m going to kill you”—it was instead “I’m going to get you.”

Officer Nicholas Raleigh then testified that on May 10 he followed up with defendant Williams, the owner of the Volvo vehicle that was involved in the dispute on May 4. The officer searched the car and, because Williams was living in his car he found a multitude of things, including a screwdriver and a BB gun that was made to look like a 1911-style handgun.

Williams told the officer that he had the screwdriver because he was working on his stereo but he hadn’t swung it at anyone.

Judge Trena H. Burger-Plavan ruled there was sufficient evidence to find Williams to be guilty and therefore he has to answer to all charges in trial.

About The Author

Genesis Guzman is a sophmore at UC Davis, majoring in English and Political Science. She is from Los Angeles, CA and hopes to attend law school in the future.

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