EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — A San Diego County Superior Court judge on Friday rejected a request to raise star Memphis basketball recruit Mikey Williams’ bail for what the prosecution said was a threatening social media post, and granted a speedy trial for the 19-year-old on nine felony charges stemming from a March 17 shooting incident in which no one was injured.
Judge Kathleen M. Lewis denied Deputy District Attorney George Modlin’s request to raise Williams’ bail to $500,000. The player has been free on a $50,000 bond since his arrest on April 13.
Lewis set trial for Dec. 14 on six counts of assault with a weapon, one count of firing into an occupied vehicle and two counts of making threats that could result in great bodily injury or death. Williams faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Defense attorney Troy Owens entered not guilty pleas on Williams’ behalf.
Williams is enrolled in online classes at Memphis and remains on the roster but does not have access to team facilities or activities, and his status with the program will be determined when the court case is resolved, the school said last month. The Tigers open the season Nov. 6 at home against Jackson State.
It was the second time Modlin requested an increase in bail. The request during Williams’ arraignment Friday was based on what Modlin said was a since-deleted Instagram post showing a TV clip of Williams in court with lyrics from a song by rapper Rylo Rodriguez: “Say the judge and DA (expletive) with his head, just stay afloat.”
The post was made a few hours after Williams’ preliminary hearing on Oct. 10, when he was ordered to stand trial on what were then six charges. Modlin has since added three more charges.
Modlin said Williams’ Instagram reach “is far more than most defendants have” and “this is more than somebody venting.” He also said witnesses have moved out of state.
Owens objected, saying the lyrics were not written by Williams and there was “no credible information about anyone being in danger.” Owens said Williams deleted the post “because of the negative attention and overreach” and hasn’t posted since.
Lewis ordered Williams not to make any more posts about the case. In declining to raise bail, she said: “I don’t think it’s a sufficient change of circumstances. I understand the argument. I think it was just a stupid, stupid thing Mr. Williams did.”
Williams didn’t comment when asked about the post as he left with his attorneys and several family members.
Williams was one of the name, image and likeness era’s earliest stars, securing a landmark multiyear deal with shoe and athletic apparel maker Puma for an undisclosed amount in 2021. Puma spokeswoman Melissa Garbayo said Friday that the company’s relationship with Williams ended earlier this year. On3.com once estimated his NIL valuation at $3.6 million, but Williams’ name no longer appears in the rankings.
Williams, who finished his prep career at San Ysidro High School, is accused in a March 27 shooting at his home in unincorporated Jamul in eastern San Diego County. He is accused of shooting at a car with six occupants and making threats.
A juvenile witness testified at the preliminary hearing that she and a group of friends took an Uber to Williams’ home so she could meet with JJ Taylor, who was living there and also has committed to play at Memphis. The girl said she went inside while the others waited in the car, but that Williams appeared angry and began to make threats.
Judge Sherry M. Thompson-Taylor ruled at the preliminary hearing that while no witnesses saw Williams fire a gun, there was probable cause to send the case to trial based on testimony that witnesses saw him with a gun with a red targeting laser and heard him threaten to kill them. Modlin presented photos of bullet holes in the Uber driver’s Tesla Model 3.
___ AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball