UKIAH, 3/24/22 — William Allen Evers was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison this morning for assaulting then-rookie Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Kelly with a firearm on May 12, 2021, while fleeing the scene of a residential burglary in Elk. Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder said the potential life sentence was based not solely on the conduct which Evers admitted to in this case, but also his two prior strike convictions and 20 years of criminal behavior.
“Good luck to you, Mr. Evers,” Judge Keith Faulder told the defendant, who appeared in custody via Zoom.
Evers was initally charged with attempted murder of a peace officer for the shooting, but he pleaded guilty to the lesser felony of assaulting an officer with a deadly weapon Feb. 25 after confessing to the crime in a jailhouse news interview conducted before speaking with his attorney. Evers was also charged with 15 counts of burglary, grand theft of a firearm and destruction of private property, but those charges were dismissed as a part of his plea agreement.
For now, this marks the apparent end of a year-long drama that began last February with the sheriff’s office attempting to identify Evers by posting still images from security cameras. He spent most of last year living in the woods of Mendocino County, burglarizing numerous homes and subsisting on whatever he could find inside.
Search efforts intensified after Kelly’s officer-involved shooting in May. At least two officers were injured in the manhunt, which stretched on into autumn when he was arrested Nov. 4. Extensive regional media coverage turned Evers into a minor celebrity and he was, occasionally, referred to as a “folk hero” in various social media comment sections.