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The People v. Lee Ray Williams

August 29, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. CRF101494)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robie , Acting P. J.

P. v. Williams



California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Shortly before Christmas 2009, Dana Helvick's home in Davis was burglarized. Lee Ray Williams -- the victim's on-again, off-again boyfriend and father of the victim's daughter -- was charged with first degree burglary and receiving stolen property as well as several enhancements.

At trial, the prosecutor, to show that defendant had a motive to burglarize the victim's home, introduced evidence that defendant was several months behind in his rent payments and facing eviction. The trial court admitted the evidence over the objection of defense counsel.

The jury found defendant guilty of first degree burglary and not guilty of receiving stolen property and in the second half of a bifurcated trial found all the enhancement allegations true. The trial court sentenced defendant to a determinate term of 17 years and an indeterminate term of 25 years to life pursuant to the three strikes law.

On appeal, defendant contends the admission of this evidence was prejudicial error. Defendant also argues the sentence the trial court imposed was unauthorized under California's three strikes law. The People assert any evidentiary error in this case was harmless, but concede the sentence the trial court imposed was improper. We will modify the sentence, and concluding there was no prejudicial error, we will otherwise affirm the judgment.


On December 15, 2009, defendant visited Dana Helvick at her home in Davis. Defendant and Dana*fn1 met in 1992 and had dated off-and-on since then. Defendant and Dana's child, Whitney, lived with Dana in Davis.

When defendant arrived at Dana's home, Dana was preparing to pick up Whitney from her school to take her to another school where she took one class a day. Defendant and Dana spoke about some financial problems Dana was having. At some point during their conversation, Dana left to use the bathroom. While she was in the bathroom, Dana heard defendant walking around the house, and when she came out of the bathroom, Dana saw defendant leaving her bedroom. Before leaving to pick up her daughter, Dana told defendant that Whitney was performing in a choir concert that night at 7:00 p.m.

When Dana left, defendant went with her to pick up Whitney. As they were leaving, Dana noticed that defendant had arrived in a red, two-door Toyota Tercel, which was the car he normally drove. According to Dana, when they arrived back at her house from picking up and dropping off Whitney, she and defendant fought, and then he left. Defendant and Dana made no plans to see each other again, but defendant did ask Dana to call him after Whitney's choir performance.

Dana and her cousin (who was accompanying her to the choir performance) left her house around 6:30 p.m. for the concert. When Dana left, she locked the front door and turned on the porch light. The curtains in her front bay window were open, because Dana did not normally close them until going to bed. Dana left the rear sliding glass door slightly ajar because the lock was broken and because the screen door beneath had a doggie door that could be used by her pets. Both of the gates in Dana's backyard were secured with locks. After arriving for the concert, Dana received a call from defendant, informing her that he did not think he could make it to the concert, but to call him afterward. Dana did not invite defendant to the concert, and defendant had not mentioned earlier in the day that he would try to attend.

Around 6:55 p.m., Dana's neighbor across the street, Jean Adamian, left to pick up her husband from work about five minutes away. As she was leaving, she noticed a Toyota Tercel parked on the street in the spot where her husband normally parked his car, directly across from Dana Helvick's house. Also as she was leaving, Jean Adamian saw a "stocky black man" that she assumed was Dana's "ex-husband" (Jean Adamian had met defendant before) walking up to the front door of Dana's house. When Jean ...

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