William Carl Gardner III, of Sacramento, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in Yolo Superior Court for the murder of his former girlfriend in the small town of Winters.
Gardner was convicted by a jury in October of murder, felony stalking and firearms counts at trial for the shooting death of Leslie Pinkston, along with five enhancements, including using a firearm causing death, committing a felony while released on bail and possessing a weapon as a felon.
Gardner shot Pinkston, 32, at close range Nov. 18, 2013, as she sat in her car on a Winters street. Pinkston died a short time later at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. She was shot three days after Gardner was released on bail from Yolo County custody on an unrelated domestic violence charge.
Gardner fled California following the fatal shooting, sparking a nationwide manhunt and eluding authorities before he was finally taken in Dec. 10, 2013, following a six-hour standoff at a Las Vegas apartment complex.
Gardner, also known as Malik Mahammad, had been arrested numerous times in Sacramento County, according to court records, on charges ranging from criminal threats to domestic violence to firearms violations and drug possession.
Court records further showed a history of accusations of physical abuse in Sacramento County and Yolo County.
The same December 2013 day that federal and Las Vegas authorities were involved in the standoff with Gardner, he was due in a Yolo County courtroom to face charges of stalking and threatening Pinkston and her mother in January 2013 at the women’s Winters home.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.