Prosecutors drop case against 1 of 3 charged with shooting after Richard Spencer’s Gainesville speech
Prosecutors in Florida have dropped a case against one of the three people arrested after a shooting following Richard Spencer’s speech at the University of Florida.
Assistant State Attorney Christopher M. Elsey filed a notice on Thursday that there’s not enough evidence against 30-year-old William Henry Fears, IV, to “sustain a conviction.”
William Fears, his brother, 29-year-old Colton Gene Fears and a friend, 29-year-old Tyler Tenbrink, were arrested on Oct 19 not far from the campus.
Police say the trio pulled up in a silver Jeep at the corner of 34th Street and Archer Road, just blocks away from the venue Spencer spoke at, and struck up an argument with a group of protesters. Witnesses said the trio became belligerent, throwing out Nazi salutes and praising Adolf Hitler. Then the Fears brothers, allegedly urged Tenbrink to shoot the protesters.
According to law enforcement, Tenbrink pulled his gun, fired one shot, missed the group and the trio sped off.
Later that night, law enforcement arrested the three for attempted murder, setting a $3 million bond for Tenbrink and a $1 million bond for each of the Fears brothers.
Tenbrink is a felon, so he faces an additional charge for illegally possessing a firearm.
Colton Fears and Tenbrink, both of whom are from the Houston, Texas, area are set for trial June 11 in Gainesville.
A fourth person in the car with them was not arrested and not charged.
Legally, William Fears has other issues.
At the time he was arrested in Florida, William Fears was a fugitive from Texas.
That case stems from an October 7 incident at his then-girlfriend’s home near Houston.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Harris County criminal court, Fears confronted a woman on October 7 at her home in Spring, Texas, northwest of Houston. Fears accused the woman of not being faithful in their relationship and demanded to see her cellphone.
Fears then slapped the woman with an open hand and pulled her to the ground as she tried to get away from him, sheriff’s deputies said.
Deputies said Fears then pinned the woman to the ground by straddling her with his knees on her arms.
Fears then squeezed the woman’s neck, making it hard to breath and, eventually choking her to the point where she gagged and vomited in her mouth, deputies said.
The woman filed for and was granted a protective order keeping Fears at least 200 feet from her at all times.
Fears is free on bond. No trial date has been set in the Texas case.
The Fears brothers have a long history of extremism, and this wasn’t the first time William has urged his fellow racists to kill. He brawled enthusiastically during the deadly protests in Charlottesville, shouting, “Shoot! Fire the first shot of the race war!”