William Desmond speaks about what's next after spending year in jail
Nassau County man's second trial wrapped up earlier this week
YULEE, Fla. – After spending more than a year behind bars and sitting through two trials, a Nassau County man is glad to be free. On Friday he opened up to News4Jax about life and his next move.
William Desmond's second trial wrapped up earlier this week. Police said he pointed a gun at SWAT members more than a year ago during an 18-hour standoff.
The first trial ended with a hung jury, but the other day, the retired Navy veteran was found guilty of unsafe brandishing of a firearm and was sentenced to time-served.
Desmond spoke out Friday about his ordeal and where he goes from here.
"I'm going to get back up on my feet again," Desmond said. "I've been knocked down in life and you get back up."
In an interview outside of his lawyer's office, Desmond told News4Jax, he's happy to be a free man. He said his next move in life is to clear his name and hopefully put the memories of the day he came face to face with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office SWAT team behind him.
"They like to call it a standoff and they like to call it a barricade, but I was sitting in my own home," said Desmond. "By the next morning, there were dozens of police, armored vehicles, ambulances, firetrucks -- it was something out of a movie set."
Desmond's ordeal started after an ex-girlfriend called authorities, saying he was suicidal and might hurt himself. Before the start of his second trial, Desmond told News4Jax that wasn't the case at all; When authorities arrived on scene, he had no interest in stepping outside.
"The Constitution means a lot to me," said Desmond. "I wasn't going to come out. I didn't feel safe to come out. I opened my blinds, I showed them I was fine."
During the trial, an officer testified saying he was in an armored vehicle when Desmond pointed a gun at him during the standoff -- an assertion Desmond vehemently denies.
Cellphone video taken by a neighbor captured the moments after Desmond finally did walk out. As he was on the ground, officers shot him with non-lethal sponge rounds and used a stun gun. The video wasn't allowed in his second trial.
"It's difficult. My home was destroyed. This whole ordeal has cost me thousands and thousands of dollars," Desmond said. "My life has turned completely upside down."
As the days move forward, Desmond becomes reacquainted with life outside of jail and he's ready to start over. He's planning to file an appeal.
"All of the evidence that was disallowed in the trial has been propered into evidence by the courts, so it will go to the court of appeals," said Desmond. "I'm convinced that there will be an overturning of this verdict."
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