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Preliminary hearing set for accused bank robber

John Williams III

A preliminary hearing has been set for May 14 for the man accused of robbing the Arbuckle Umpqua Bank nearly two years ago.

John Williams III, 42, of Woodland, is accused of being the first of two armed men to enter the bank on the afternoon of July 5, 2019.

His alleged partner, Michael G. Jones Jr., pleaded guilty last August to being the second man to enter the bank and make off with more than $2,000 after DNA linked him to the crime. He is serving a nine-year prison sentence in Soledad.

Williams, who is representing himself in court, has pleaded not guilty to the robbery and has raised numerous motions in court.

On April 26, Colusa County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Thompson cautioned Williams to not waste the court’s time with frivolous motions for discovery as he already ordered the District Attorney’s Office to turn over all evidence.

Williams expressed his frustration that law enforcement reports indicate that in the hours-long manhunt in the Dunnigan area for the two bank suspects who managed to escape after the robbery, officers reportedly talked to passersby and farm workers who witnessed the suspect or suspects fleeing on foot, but did not take their names.

Thompson last week allocated $2,000 for Williams to hire a private investigator to pursue potential eye witnesses that could possibly exonerate him.

Williams has also requested a photo lineup, although there was no claim during the Jones preliminary that anyone ever saw his face.

He also requested video footage from the Sacramento Airport where the vehicle used in the bank robbery and later abandoned in an orchard was stolen.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Brandon Farrell said investigators had also requested footage of the reported theft, but no video was ever secured.

Farrell claims that all evidence that will be used at trial has been turned over to Williams.

The May 14 preliminary hearing is set for 9 AM. §

 

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