Maybe “dribbles away” would be a more accurate description. 19-year-old Mikey Williams looks set to bring his basketball prowess to the University of Memphis after prosecutors in San Diego County offered the teen one heck of a plea bargain in connection with a shooting incident that took place back in March of this year.
Williams was arrested back in April and charged with a long list of felonies, including six counts of assault with a weapon, one count of firing into an occupied vehicle and two counts of making threats that could result in great bodily injury or death March 27 shooting at a home in San Diego County. An argument just before midnight ended with gunshots being fired at a car that was leaving the house with five passengers inside it, police said in a news release. Bullets hit the car, but nobody inside was injured, police said.
If Williams had been convicted and sentenced to the maximum time allowed, he could have been looking at three decades behind bars. Instead, he’s off the hook after pleading guilty to a single count of making a criminal threat as well as a special allegation of using a firearm during the threat. While the charge is a felony, if Williams stays out of trouble for a little while, even that will be wiped off his record.
In exchange, the other eight counts were dismissed and Williams was ordered to complete a gun safety course, attend anger management sessions and do 80 hours of community service. Sentencing was set for Aug. 12 in San Diego County Superior Court, when the charge would be reduced to a misdemeanor if Williams follows terms of the deal and avoids any criminal offenses, Grossman said. Although a judge would have the discretion to sentence Williams to a year in jail, “no custody is contemplated,” the attorney said.
Grossman said negotiations reached the highest levels of the District Attorney’s office. Williams had faced six counts of assault with a weapon, one count of firing into an occupied vehicle and two counts of making threats that could result in great bodily injury or death. Trial had been set for Dec. 14.
Williams posted a video on his Instagram account that shows him walking away from the courthouse in this San Diego suburb.
“It’s all over,” said Williams, who was dressed in a black suit and had his arm around a friend or a family member. “I feel good, brother. You know, all glory to God. I’m just happy that I made it out of this situation. I’m just excited to get back on the court.”
The DA’s office didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.
Yeah, I’d probably be keeping my mouth shut too if I’d cut a deal like this.
To be fair to the DA, the case against Williams wasn’t open-and-shut. While a judge did find probable cause to bring the case forward to trial, prosecutors didn’t have any witnesses that could testify that Williams pulled the trigger. What they did have, however, were multiple witnesses who were willing to testify they saw him with a gun in hand and heard his threats to kill the individuals who were shot at.
Would Williams have been offered this deal if he wasn’t one of the top basketball recruits in the country? I have my suspicions, but it’s worth noting that this isn’t the only plea bargain in San Diego County in recent months that appears to be an awfully sweet deal for the defendant. This summer a 20-year-old accused of running an illicit gun-making operation managed to avoid 28 felony charges, mostly for unlawful possession of a machine gun, and escape with just one year in the county lockup and two years of probation after pleading guilty to a single count of unlawfully converting a firearm into a machine gun.
Gavin Newsom and his anti-gun allies in Sacramento keep creating new non-violent crimes out of our right to keep and bear arms, while California’s criminal justice system is regularly handing out slaps on the wrist, both for violent offenders and the individuals helping to illicitly arm them. That seems backward to me, but I guess if the goal is to eradicate lawful gun ownership rather than reduce violent crime, I can see the twisted logic behind that strategy.