Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Wednesday, August 12, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 73° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Swiped Slice Of Pizza Man’s Third Strike

Los Angeles Times

Jerry Dewayne Williams - a small-time street criminal described by his girlfriend as a man with a taste for “stupid, stupid” crimes - was found guilty Friday of stealing a single slice of pepperoni pizza and now faces 25 years to life in prison under California’s sweeping “three strikes” law.

Word of the Superior Court verdict in suburban Torrance and the specter of a life sentence for the 27-year-old Compton warehouseman appalled critics of the law, and is certain to fuel debate between those who say the law is the get-tough stance a society of victims has long demanded and those who believe it imposes unfair punishment.

After nearly three days of deliberations, an eight-woman, four-man jury deadlocked on two charges of robbery against Williams, but convicted him of felony petty theft for swiping a piece of pizza from four children last July.

As testimony in the trial wrapped up early this week, Williams and his attorney held out hope that, if convicted, Judge Donald F. Pitts might strike one of Williams’s previous felony convictions, thereby eliminating any chance of a 25-years to life term.

But those hopes sank deeply when an appeals court ruled Tuesday that judges have no power to disregard such prior convictions.

Williams had previously been convicted of four other felonies: robbery, attempted robbery, unauthorized use of a motorized vehicle and possession of a controlled substance.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

Swedish Thoracic Surgery: Partners in patient care

 (Courtesy Bergman Draper Oslund Udo)

Matt Bergman knows the pain and anger that patients with mesothelioma feel.