Thursday, June 24, 2021


Accused bank robber to represent himself at trial 

John Williams III, 42, of Woodland, the second man accused of robbing the Umpqua Bank in Arbuckle 18 months ago, will represent himself at trial. 

Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Ufkes Olivera granted Williams’ request to dismiss his public defender, Brandon Williams, against the recommendation of the court. 

Wiliams is accused of being the first of two armed men to walk into Umpqua Bank late on a Friday afternoon, the day after the Fourth of July holiday in 2019, and make off with about $2,300. 

His alleged partner, Michael Gene Jones Jr., who also made off with more than $2,000, halted his trial in August to plead guilty to aggravated robbery with a firearm. He is serving a nine year prison sentence. 

Court proceedings are just getting underway for Williams, who was incarcerated on unrelated charges at the time his co-defendant was bound for trial. 

Williams will appear in Colusa County Superior Court on January 19 for the setting of a preliminary hearing. 

Colusa County Sheriff’s Officials said two armed men, dressed in dark clothing, entered the bank around 4:59 PM, robbed the two bank tellers, then fled the scene in a Toyota Tundra that had been reported stolen from the Sacramento International Airport. 

The witness at the ATM machine testified during Jones’ proceedings that he saw two masked individuals enter and leave, before he ran into the street to alert passersby that a robbery was in process. He then flagged down Arbuckle Fire Chief Casey Cox, who pursued the vehicle south on Interstate-5 before a Sheriff’s Deputy could pick up the chase along county roads near Dunnigan. 

The deputy previously testified that the pickup, at some point, slowed down to allow the passenger, believed to be Williams, to get out and flee on foot. Jones soon abandoned the vehicle in an almond orchard south of County Road 2 in Yolo County and managed to give the deputy the slip during a foot pursuit.  

Jones was arrested on Oct. 6, 2019, in Woodland, after DNA found on a discarded glove matched him to the FBI’s database. Williams was arrested the following day in San Mateo on unrelated criminal charges, and was extradited on a warrant to Colusa County in August following his incarceration. 

Williams is charged with second degree robbery, grand theft, firearm violations, and other felonies. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and forensic evidence linking him to the crime has not yet been presented in court. 

Williams, acting as his own attorney, has requested all pre-preliminary discovery in his case. ♣

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