William Desmond back in court over SWAT standoff

Desmond denies pointing a gun at officer during standoff

William Desmond sat down for an interview with Channel 4's Vic Micolucci inside the Nassau County jail.
William Desmond sat down for an interview with Channel 4's Vic Micolucci inside the Nassau County jail.

YULEE, Fla. – A Nassau County man is on trial for a second time, accused of pointing a gun at a SWAT team member as officers tried it to take him into custody.

William Desmond Junior, 57, was arrested a year ago Monday, after a standoff at the Lofton Oaks Mobile Home Park where he lived.

The Navy veteran has been in jail ever since, unable to post a $100,000 bond.

It all started after his ex-girlfriend told police that she spoke to him over the phone and she thought he might try to kill himself.

Desmond denies all the allegations and believes police used excessive force during his arrest.

The first time Desmond was in court, jurors deadlocked and were unable to make up their mind of whether he was guilty or not.

This time he hopes that he can show them that he wasn't threatening anyone and wasn't pointing a gun at SWAT officers.

Cellphone video, shot by a neighbor at the end of the 18-hour standoff, shows the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office SWAT team using tear gas as Desmond is in his motor home.

He then walks out and falls to the ground.

While on the ground tactical officers shoot him with nonlethal sponge rounds and then use a Taser.

Desmond told News4Jax last month in an exclusive interview that it shows he wasn't a threat. However, the jurors can't see footage.

Last week, after a motion from the prosecutor, Judge Robert Foster said the video wasn't allowed as evidence during the trial. The judge has also issued a gag order, prohibiting those involved in the case to speak about it outside of the courtroom.

Several of the officers who responded, both from Nassau County and Jacksonville, testified today.

One of the officers, who is not being identified because he works undercover, says he was in an armored vehicle when he saw Desmond point a handgun at him.

That's when police said the situation escalated from a wellness check on someone with mental health issues to a crime against a law enforcement.

But Desmond said he wasn't dangerous or suicidal, and told News4Jax that he had every right to stay inside his own home with the guns he legally owned and never pointed a gun at anyone.

Desmond's sister, who sat behind him in court, hopes the jury believes him and he soon will be a free man.

"He doesn't ever, you know he likes police. He's not anti-police, he's not anything against the government so it just doesn't make any sense. It's being made out to look like he's against police and it's not, he's fighting for his personal rights," said Dee Dee Desmond Snyder, his sister.

She says Desmond is facing 15 years in prison but that they will continue to support him as a family.

The first day of the trial ended at about 4:30 p.m. on Monday and will reconvene on Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. where Desmond is supposed to testify.

According to his family, the State Attorney's office has offered Desmond a plea agreement four times.

He would plead guilty and be able to walk out of jail on time served, but doesn't want to lose his rights as a convicted felon.

He said he is standing up for what is right and he won't back down because he didn't do anything wrong.