April trial date set in shooting of Phoenix police officer

Posted at 6:55 PM, December 30, 2021 and last updated 6:54 PM, July 7, 2023

PHOENIX (AP) — A trial date next April has been set for a man charged with attempted murder and other crimes in a Dec. 14 shooting that left a Phoenix police officer critically wounded.

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Thursday entered not guilty pleas for Essa Williams and set several court dates leading up to an April 28 trial date.

FILE – In this undated photo released by the Maricopa County Jail shows Essa Kolareh Eugene Williams, a suspect accused of shooting and seriously wounding a Phoenix police officer on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021.(Maricopa County Jail via AP, File)

Williams was arrested early the morning of Dec. 14 at an apartment complex where Officer Tyler Moldovan, 22, was shot as police searched for a man seen running from a car that reportedly had been driven erratically a short time earlier.

A Dec. 14 police probable-cause statement said Moldovan, 22, was placed on life support after being shot multiple times, including once in the head. and the Police Department tweeted Wednesday that he remained in extremely critical condition.

Williams, who remains jailed in lieu of $3 million bond, was not present in court during his brief arraignment hearing Thursday.

A Dec. 23 indictment charged Williams with attempt to commit first-degree murder, attempt to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and three counts of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

FILE – In this undated photo provided by the Phoenix Police Department is Officer Tyler Moldovan.  (Phoenix Police Department via AP, File)

The Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office, which is representing Williams, did not immediately respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment on the allegations.

The probable-cause statement said police recovered the handgun used to shoot Moldovan and also found a second handgun, which had an extended magazine, in the patio where Williams had been hiding at the apartment complex.

Williams has nine prior felony convictions, including armed robbery, aggravated assault and endangerment, the probable-cause statement said.

Williams was sentenced to multiple prison terms in 2017 and was released in 2020, according to Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry records.

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