Man accused of killing ex-girlfriend in Winters is returned to Yolo County

William Carl Gardner III, the Sacramento man accused of murder in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend in Winters, was returned to Yolo County from Las Vegas late Monday to face charges. His arraignment is set for Friday in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland.

Gardner, 30, is accused of shooting 32-year-old Leslie Pinkston at close range Nov. 18 as she sat in her car in downtown Winters. She died a short time later at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

Gardner is being held without bail at Yolo County jail in Woodland, said Yolo sheriff’s officials. He had been in custody in Nevada since his arrest Dec. 10 by federal marshals and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police after a six-hour standoff at a Las Vegas apartment building.

Gardner disappeared in the days after the fatal shooting in November, sparking a nationwide manhunt that lasted weeks before a tip led a marshals task force to the apartment complex in Las Vegas on Dec. 9. Gardner had holed up in one of the units with a man, woman and child – later described by marshals as friends of the suspect – and dug in for the standoff before surrendering.

The standoff occurred on the same day that Gardner was to appear for trial in Yolo Superior Court to face charges of stalking and threatening Pinkston and her mother, Carla Crane, at the women’s home in Winters in January 2013.

According to a transcript of the April preliminary hearing in the case, Crane testified that Gardner threw a chair through a front window and yelled at her to “tell your daughter she better get out here,” as Crane rushed Pinkston and Pinkston’s young daughter into a bathroom behind a locked door.

She said Gardner also vandalized her daughter’s sport-utility vehicle, smashing the front and rear windows before leaving.

The court issued a criminal protective order to keep Gardner away from Pinkston following the January 2013 incident. Court records show that the alleged threats against Pinkston were so clear as to “cause that person to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety.”

Court records from Yolo and Sacramento Superior Courts show Gardner was accused of beating and terrorizing women in the two counties, ignoring court orders and continuing to commit crimes while on bail or probation.

Also known as Malik Mahammad, Gardner has a lengthy arrest sheet in Sacramento County, ranging from criminal threats to domestic violence to firearms violations and drug possession.

After missing an Oct. 22 hearing in Sacramento Superior Court on a domestic violence case unrelated to Pinkston and her mother, Gardner was held in Yolo County before being released on bail Nov. 15.

Pinkston was fatally shot three days later.