SAN DIEGO (AP) — Due to security concerns cited by his attorney, high school basketball star and Memphis signee Mikey Williams appeared via video conference for his arraignment Thursday on six felony charges of assault with a firearm. His attorney entered pleas of not guilty on Williams’ behalf.
Williams faces five charges of assault with a weapon and one count of firing into an occupied vehicle. He could get up to 28 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
Williams spoke only a few times, answering, “Yes, sir,” when asked by Superior Court Judge Louis R. Hanoian if he understood his rights and when he was told he couldn’t possess guns or ammunition as a condition of remaining free on a $50,000 bond.
The March 27 shooting happened at the $1.2 million home Williams purchased in unincorporated Jamul in eastern San Diego County. An argument just before midnight ended with gunshots being fired at a car that was leaving the house with five passengers inside it, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release. Bullets hit the car, but nobody inside was injured, authorities said.
The shooting was reported to authorities the next day. Officers executed a search warrant at the home and arrested Williams on April 13.
Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said Wednesday in his first media availability since Williams’ arrest that he wouldn’t speak about the case “out of respect for the ongoing process of what’s happening.”
“I mean, I’m gonna continue to recruit. As of right now, Mikey is still with us. That’s how I have to keep it until otherwise,” Hardaway added. “That’s why I say, I can’t really speak on the case. Nothing has happened thus far.”
At the prosecution’s request, the court issued protective orders Thursday for the five individuals, including three minors, who were in the car that Williams is accused of firing into on March 27. Williams must stay at least 100 yards from the individuals and not contact or threaten them.
Williams’ attorney, Troy P. Owens, said after the brief hearing that he requested for Williams to appear via video conference because of threats “that are public and online.” He declined to give further details.
“We did not want him showing up in person,” Owens said.
Williams will be represented by Owens at a readiness hearing on June 15 but he was ordered to be personally present for the preliminary hearing scheduled for June 29.
Williams is one of the name, image and likeness era’s earliest stars, securing a multiyear deal with shoe and athletic apparel maker Puma for an undisclosed amount in 2021. He has millions of followers across his social media platforms. On3.com once estimated his NIL valuation at $3.6 million, but Williams’ name no longer appears in the rankings.
Williams played his senior year at San Ysidro High School in San Diego and signed with Memphis in November.
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