VAN NUYS — A Van Nuys Municipal Court judge, refusing to postpone arraignment for a fourth time, Monday entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of William Andrew Masters II, whose killing of a teen-age tagger sparked debate over graffiti and vigilantism.
Judge Alan Ellis then set a May 15 trial date for Masters, 35, of Sun Valley, who is charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and carrying a loaded weapon without a permit. If convicted on the misdemeanor charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail, said Deputy City Atty. Richard A. Schmidt.
Immediately after the court proceedings, Masters thought the continuance had been granted because his attorney did not show up in court. However, after being told by a reporter that the judge had entered a plea on his behalf, a surprised Masters said, "Well, then I guess my attorney will take care of it."
Masters identified his attorney as J. Anthony Bryan of Bakersfield, but Bryan said Tuesday that while he is interested in representing Masters, he has not yet been officially retained. Bryan declined to elaborate.