A judge Friday suspended a prison sentence and granted probation for a woman who pointed what turned out to be a pellet gun at two San Diego police officers who followed her into a downtown parking structure during the Rock-N-Roll marathon last June.
Judge Michael Groch told 59-year-old Mona Elease Williams that she will go to prison for four years and eight months if she violates a single term of probation over the next five years.
“You have no second chances,” the judge told the defendant. “One violation, you go to prison.”
The judge said Williams — who has a history of mental health and substance abuse issues — can be released to an outpatient treatment program as soon as a bed becomes available.
Williams pleaded guilty in September to a pair of felony counts of resisting an executive officer by threat or violence.
Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon urged the judge to deny probation and sentence Williams to between six years, four months and eight years, four months in prison.
On the third day of the defendant’s preliminary hearing three months ago, the prosecutor dismissed allegations that Williams personally used a deadly weapon in the crimes. He said that because he couldn’t prove that the pellet gun was loaded, the allegations had to be dismissed.
Williams — who has convictions for burglary in 1986 and assault in 2003 and was sent to prison in 2015 — would have faced 62 years to life behind bars if convicted as charged.
Groch struck Williams’ “strike” convictions, noting the defendant hadn’t had any crimes of violence in the last 15 years.
“This was a horrible ripple effect,” the judge said. “She dropped a rock into a pond and it caused a tsunami. She was not in a calm, clear head.”
The defendant’s good friend, Lisa Wilson, testified that Williams texted “death by cop” hours before the June 3 confrontation with officers.
In body-worn camera video recorded as Williams was arrested, she is seen frantically trying to explain to Officer Ronald Hamilton that she is bipolar and off her medications.
“She told me she wanted to harm herself,” Hamilton testified.
The officer said Williams was acting erratically, breathing heavily and showing signs consistent with someone under the influence of methamphetamine.
Minutes earlier, an officer followed Williams after a motorist trying to find a parking space told the officer that Williams — driving Wilson’s car — hit her from behind and took off.
Runyon said Williams was spotted in the car near the entrance to the First Avenue city parking structure by an officer who thought he saw a gun pointed at him.
Williams proceeded to the top of the parking structure and pointed the pellet gun at an officer, who fired two shots at her but missed.
Another responding officer accidentally shot himself in the leg during the incident.
–City News Service