FRESNO -- A man who once campaigned to be governor of California – despite convictions for manslaughter and assault with intent to commit rape – now faces life in prison if convicted of shooting his neighbor and killing a horse.
Surrounded by bailiffs, Tye Glenn Champ Jr., 48, wore a red jail jumpsuit, leg irons and handcuffs in his first appearance Wednesday in Fresno County Superior Court.
A criminal complaint charges him with attempted murder, assault with a semi-automatic firearm, cruelty to an animal, possession of a firearm by a felon and vandalism.
Champ, of Tollhouse, said nothing during his brief court appearance other than to agree to have his arraignment delayed till today to give defense attorney H. Ty Kharazi time to read the investigative reports.
Until the case is resolved, Champ will remain in Fresno County jail in lieu of $2 million bail, Judge James Kelley said.
After the hearing, Kharazi said he has visited Champ in jail and briefly discussed the charges with him. “He denies the allegations and plans to plead not guilty,” Kharazi said.
At a news conference last week, Sheriff Margaret Mims said a dispute among neighbors in the Prather area led to the shooting.
In the afternoon of Aug. 7, Champ approached a 13-year-old boy and slashed the tires on the ATV that the child was riding, Mims said. The parents then confronted Champ, who pulled out a gun and shot the father, Mims said. A horse in a nearby pasture was hit by gunfire and died, Mims said.
The 40-year-old father, who was shot in the stomach, underwent surgery at Community Regional Medical Center. His wounds are not life-threatening, Mims said.
Champ was arrested Friday near Goshen in Tulare County without incident.
Camp campaigned in this year’s California primary on a platform that he would clean up state government. He won 2 percent of the vote in June.
Champ’s criminal history dates back nearly three decades. In 1985, he pleaded guilty in Fresno Superior Court to carrying a concealed loaded gun in a public place and solicitation of prostitution. He was sentenced to one year of probation and the adult offender work program. Seven years later, he pleaded guilty to a second concealed gun charge and was sentenced to two years of probation.
In 1993, he pleaded guilty to two felony counts of assault with intent to commit rape. He was sentenced to one year in jail and four years of probation and classified as a sexually violent predator, court records say.
Five years later, Champ was arrested in the killing of a rival trash hauler and pleaded no contest to manslaughter in October 1998 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison, court records say.