Williams Bond Will Remain at $5 Million

Williams Bond Will Remain at $5 Million
Posted by FoM on May 04, 2000 at 12:09:28 PT
By Kim Smith 
Source: Las Vegas SUN
The bond for a woman accused of being high on marijuana and ecstasy when her car ran off Interstate 15 and killed six teenagers will remain at $5 million.District Judge Mark Gibbons denied a defense motion to reduce Jessica Williams' bond amount Tuesday afternoon, noting the seriousness of the charges filed against her and the possibility of a 120-year prison sentence.
Gibbons made his decision after hearing lengthy arguments from Williams' attorney, John Watkins, and Deputy District Attorney Bruce Nelson. The men addressed the judge in front of approximately 50 family members of both Williams and the six teenagers who died.In anticipation of a large crowd, many of whom wore Stop DUI pins and red ribbons, court personnel moved the hearing from Gibbons' courtroom to a larger courtroom.Williams' family, who wore pink ribbons to a hearing last week, did not wear ribbons this week. It was apparently in deference to those victims' family members who expressed their displeasure to the media about their blatant support of Williams.Prior to Tuesday's hearing, approximately 20 of Williams' supporters, including her mother, stepfather and father, formed a circle in the hallway and prayed. They asked for the opportunity to present an olive branch to the other families.According to prosecutors, Williams was under the influence of marijuana and the hallucinogenic drug ecstasy when she fell asleep at the wheel of her father's minivan on March 19.The van went off into the median of Interstate 15, traveled more than 200 feet and then struck six teenagers who were picking up trash. Five of the teens, Scott Garner Jr., Alberto Puig, Anthony Smith, Rebeccah Glicken and Malina Stoltzfus, died at the scene. A sixth, Jennifer Booth, died the next day.Watkins contends that Williams, who turned 21 a few days after the accident, merely fell asleep.In arguing for a lower bond, Watkins said $5 million was an "unreasonable" amount. The purpose of a bond is to ensure that defendants appear in court and those that pose a risk to the public aren't released.Williams is not a flight risk, but she would be willing to do whatever it takes to alleviate the court's mind on that subject, Watkins said. She is agreeable to house arrest, not driving and submitting to random drug testing.In fact, Watkins said, he doubts Williams will ever drive again because she is so remorseful and horrified at the deaths of the teens.Watkins noted that when setting bond amounts judges are supposed to look at the probability of conviction. He said Williams has an excellent chance of being acquitted.He said there is plenty of evidence that indicates Williams was not impaired at the time of the accident, including testimony from doctors who treated her at University Medical Center after the accident.Nelson argued Williams is a flight risk, pointing out her lack of a permanent residence and sporadic employment. She told police she lives in Littlefield, Ariz., but possesses a California driver's license and worked in a Nevada topless bar.Because she already faces 120 years if convicted, Williams would have no incentive to follow any of the rules placed on her by the court, Nelson said. Should she get out and kill someone else in a drug driving accident, the state wouldn't be able to enhance her sentence, he said.The state doesn't allow executions for drunk or drugged drivers, Nelson said.Nelson said there is only one way to protect society from Williams."You can leave her where she is, where she cannot get access to vehicles and where she cannot get access to drugs," Nelson told Gibbons.As for Williams not being impaired, Nelson said that her first words after the accident were "Is this real?" thus showing she was still under the influence of the drugs.And, if she were so remorseful, Nelson said, he wants to know why she didn't make a move to help those she hit.Watkins said the grand jury transcripts indicate county supervisors at the scene were so horrified they, too, did nothing to help any of the children, including Booth, who lay gasping in the middle of the freeway."It's not fair. It's not fair to argue those things to the court," Watkins complained as Booth's mother ran sobbing from the courtroom.Chief Deputy District Attorney Gary Booker said that a nurse who happened on the scene rendered what aid she could as one of the supervisors relayed information to a 911 dispatcher and another kept the survivors away from the victims.Booker reminded Gibbons he intends to take the Williams' case back to the grand jury on Tuesday in an attempt to get ecstasy-related charges added to the existing indictment.Gibbons set Williams' arraignment date for May 22.E-Mail: kimberly lasvegassun.comPublished: May 3, 2000Copyright 2000 Las Vegas SUN, Inc.Related Article:Williams Case Will Test New DUI Law
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