By Sam Stanton
With the families of last Monday's hit and run incident in Carmichael staring holes in his back, the suspected driver in the case made his first court appearance this afternoon in a brief hearing.
Paul William Walden, 31, stood stone-faced in the cell inside a courtroom at the Sacramento County Jail, never once turning to look at the families of 23-year-old Gemily West or 21-year-old Harison Long-Randall.
"All cowards go to a corner," Chris Randall, Harison's father, said after the hearing.
Both young people were severely injured last Monday night while walking West's dogs in a crosswalk near her home. West was released from Mercy San Juan Hospital on Sunday, but Long-Randall remains in critical condition after losing a leg in the incident.
The four dogs were killed, and as Judge Tami R. Bogert was explaining to Walden the charges he faces she read the animals' names -- Zury, Winry, Evie and Bindie.
Walden, who had been arrested three times previously on driving under the influence charges, faces felony counts of hit and run, cruelty to animals and misdemeanor counts of DUI and driving on a suspended license. He was being held on $135,000 bail until today, when that was switched to no bail because he is alleged to have violated his probation in a prior case.
That case, which involved drug possession and battery of a woman, included a condition that Walden not use any controlled substances. The California Highway Patrol arrested Walden early Thursday and said he was under the influence of drugs at the time.
The case has sparked an outpouring from people around the nation, and people who want to contribute can make out checks to the Harison Long-Randall/Gemily West Fund and send them to Pam Dinsmore, Community Affairs Director, The Sacramento Bee, 2100 Q St., Sacramento, CA 95816.
The families also have set up a PayPal account for people wanting to donate online. . The email address to use through PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org.