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Mendocino County’s ‘Red-Bearded Burglar’ convicted of assault on peace officer

Colin Atagi | The Press Democrat

Struggling with at least 300 several years in jail for a theft spree along the Mendocino County coast, the man who acquired notoriety as the “Red-Bearded Burglar” will stay away from demo below a plea offer with prosecutors that could have him guiding bars for as very little as 25 many years.

William Evers, the goal of a months-very long manhunt, agreed to the plea discount Friday in Mendocino County Exceptional Court docket, pleading guilty to 1 count of assault on a peace officer.

The offer places an abrupt stop to a case that commenced about 15 months ago with authorities’ research for an elusive suspect behind a string of house crack-ins in a distant extend of western Mendocino County amongst Ukiah and the coast

Evers, 40, is linked to a series of burglaries dating back again to December 2020 and the assault demand stems from a May well 12 trade of gunfire with a Mendocino County sheriff’s deputy who was investigating a burglary on Cameron Highway around the coastal city of Elk.

He’s been in custody considering that Nov. 4 and will learn his sentence in the course of a March 24 hearing exactly where a decide could give him 25 yrs to existence in jail since he has two prior convictions.

In March 2007, he was convicted of burglary in Humboldt County and in October 2014 he was convicted of earning criminal threats in Shasta County.

“He’s a guy who does better in a prison placing and we’re likely to give him the chance to be in there,” Mendocino County District Lawyer David Eyster stated just after Friday’s court docket session in Ukiah.

The Mendocino County Community Defender’s Place of work did not respond to a request for comment.

A preliminary listening to was initially scheduled for Friday so prosecutors could existing evidence to figure out no matter if Evers would be qualified to stand demo on 19 counts of felony activity.

Discussion instead concentrated on the assault demand, which was not included in the most recent criticism, and the other 19 counts were being dismissed.

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Underneath the plea offer, victims will be permitted to pursue restitution and the counts can be managed in Evers’ legal data.

Experienced he gone to trial on those 19 counts, Evers could have faced at the very least 300 several years in prison if convicted of every of them.

Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney Eloise Kelsey mentioned she was “100% certain” there was more than enough proof to provide Evers to trial if the preliminary hearing experienced taken position.

After Friday’s hearing, Kelsey explained, “Efficiency and possessing a situation fixed promptly is often a regarded reward.”

Evers sat quietly for the duration of Friday’s listening to, sporting a grey and white-striped suit with his red beard hanging out from beneath his blue mask.

He answered “yes” when Decide Keith Faulder questioned if he understood problems of his plea arrangement and was escorted from the courtroom adhering to proceedings that lasted a subject of minutes.

Investigators say Evers broke into numerous vacant homes in search of shelter, food stuff and materials close to Ukiah and the towns of Philo, Elk and Albion.

He was arrested Nov. 4 right after spending most of previous yr dwelling in the Mendocino County woods.

In a jailhouse job interview with The Press Democrat, Evers reported he moved to Arizona to be close to his dad and mom beneath law enforcement supervision in late 2020.

He acquired methamphetamine and left it in a motel area where he had been remaining. He returned to a locked space and, fearing the drugs experienced been identified, fled to avoid arrest for a parole violation.

A indigenous of Redding, Evers mentioned he caught a Greyhound bus to Ukiah in December 2020 and used months looking for vacant homes that could provide shelter and materials.

A legal grievance references 15 burglaries at 13 locations but Eyster stated more could have happened. Kelsey included there was at the very least one situation the place he monitored a dwelling and waited for its owner to depart in advance of coming into.

Victims are envisioned to present statements throughout Evers’ sentencing and supply superior insight into what was stolen from their properties.

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The complaint included a person count of tried murder stemming from the trade of gunfire in May possibly with sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Kelly. Also incorporated were being two counts of vandalism and a person count of grand theft.

Evers denied the tried murder allegation and explained to The Press Democrat he fired just one spherical in the air and experienced no intention of harming the deputy.

Eyster disputed that assert Friday and reiterated the gun had under no circumstances been uncovered.

The search for Evers lasted months and he typically appeared in grainy surveillance footage circulated by authorities.

The situation was reminiscent of the 2011 hunt for Aaron Bassler, who gunned down two men and women and put in times hiding in remote woods in advance of snipers killed him after a 36-working day manhunt around Fort Bragg — 17 miles north of Albion.

At the time, his family members claimed the Fort Bragg indigenous experienced from psychological illness and his actions grew to become increasingly threatening right before he expended months residing in the forest.

Evers believed he interacted with 5 individuals previous 12 months ahead of his arrest and was conflicted in excess of fleeing or being for discussion.

He was arrested right after an Albion resident noticed him on Albion Ridge Street on Nov. 3 and contacted authorities, who noticed him from a distance before he fled. They returned the subsequent early morning and took Evers into custody subsequent a chase.

Prosecutors contend he was intent on averting arrest and even designed a hole in one particular cabin so he could escape authorities.

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