Winters Murder: Victim’s Mother Speaks Out

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A day after her Leslie Pinkston was murdered, her mother, Carla Crane, is trying to make sense of a senseless act.

“She was a beautiful person inside and she was a beautiful soul. She is still out there I know,” Crane said. 

While Crane did not want to reveal her face, she has no problem pointing her finger at her daughter’s ex-boyfriend William Gardner.

“She broke up with him. He could not handle it. He threatened her,” Crane said.

Those threats were sent via text back in January. Court documents reveal Gardner sent a laundry list of nasty messages. He even went as far to say “I hope you die.”

“He came to the house. He tried to break into the window of the door and called police. They caught him,” Crane said.

A protective order was issued against Gardner. Crane says he was scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 9 and that may have pushed him to murder Pinkston.

“I think the first time it was because she broke up with him, but I think this was imminent because he knew he was going to jail. She was going to testify [against him] and so was I,” Crane said.

Investigators raided a North Sacramento home Monday night but found no trace of Gardner. Now, the entire community of Winters has made it their mission to get justice for Leslie. 

“He better hope the police get to him before I do. That is what I have to say to him,” said Pinkston’s cousin Richard Haywood during a candle light vigil Monday night. 

“Stay away from insecure men. Anyone who shows over jealousy at all, be done,” Crane said. 

Police are still searching for Gardner. If anyone has information about his whereabouts, they are urged to contact Winters Police Department at (530) 795-4531.

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