Trial set for Bay Area man charged with grisly 2013 killing during Super Bowl party

A Solano County Superior Court judge has scheduled a November jury trial for 42-year-old Vallejo man accused of a grisly killing during a 2013 Super Bowl Sunday gathering in a Vallejo residence.

William B. Cordoba, 42, of Vallejo (Photo: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) 

Judge Janice M. Williams on Friday morning ordered William Bruce Cordoba, who appeared in Department 25 for a trial setting, to return at 9 a.m. Nov. 4 to face jurors  in the Justice Center in Fairfield.

The judge also scheduled some pretrial matters, including a trial confirmation hearing at 8:30 a.m. May 24 and a trial management conference at 8:30 a.m Oct. 31. (A previously scheduled March 4 jury trial was vacated.)

Cordoba’s trial date comes nearly 11 years after the Solano County District Attorney’s Office filed charging documents, but the case did not proceed in the ensuing weeks and months because Cordoba fled the country and traveled to Peru. There, he was eventually arrested for another crime, then extradited to the United States in April 2019 and booked into Solano County Jail.

Details of the killing emerged during an April 2023 preliminary hearing.

Using a semi-automatic firearm with an extended magazine, Cordoba allegedly shot a 27-year-old man 25 times, yielding a dozen wounds to the victim’s head, with other bullets riddling his neck, torso, a hand, and lower extremities.

But one of the wounds, according to the forensic pathologist who testified, could have been caused by “blunt force injury,” suggesting a pistol-whipping, with the violence occurring at Feb. 4, 2013, during a party in Vallejo.

On the witness stand, Dr. Arnold Josselson offered his opinion on the autopsy performed Feb. 5, 2013, on Jimmie Richardson.

A twice-convicted felon, Cordoba is charged with Richardson’s murder, which occurred in the pre-dawn hours near Borges Lane and Evelyn Circle, where Vallejo police officers found Richardson dead from multiple gunshot wounds.

Besides first-degree murder, Cordoba is charged with mayhem and assault with a semi-automatic firearm on a person.

During the preliminary hearing, Deputy District Attorney William Ainsworth showed Josselson several autopsy photos. The doctor, rendering an opinion on the autopsy performed by Dr. Susan Hogan, said blood on Richardson’s head was so plentiful that it obscured some of the head wounds, and not all of them were fatal.

From time to time, Judge John B. Ellis, who was presiding over the case at the time, leaned over from his bench seat to get a better view of the the photos.

One of Cordoba’s defense attorneys, Geoffrey Carr of Redwood City, cross-examined Josselson, noting that the doctor reviewed the report in 2020, seven years after the autopsy, and described forensic pathology as “something we call science,” or facts, not an opinion.

Afterward, Ainsworth called retired Vallejo police detective Sean Kenney to the stand, who said he discovered, after the shooting report, a burning Nissan Altima on Farragut Avenue in Vallejo, not far from the Napa River. It was unclear if Cordoba set the fire.

But Kenney said the violence stemmed from an argument during the Super Bowl gathering in a Vallejo residence, with Cordoba reportedly telling someone that Richardson “has to go tonight” — meaning he had to be killed.

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The handgun used in the fatal shooting, according to witness testimony on the hearing’s first day, was found underwater by divers off a pier in Crockett.

In her cross-examination of Kenney, co-defense counsel May Mar, also of Redwood City, continued to press Kenney aggressively with questions about facts of the case based on his reports.

Court records show the Solano County District Attorney’s Office filed its complaint against Cordoba on April 2, 2013, and an arrest warrant was issued the next day.

At some point, Cordoba fled the United States and settled in Peru, but he could not stay out of trouble.

Also known as William Johnson, he was arrested March 21, 2014, in Lima, Peru’s capital, where he faced local charges in an unrelated case.

A U.S. citizen, Cordoba was extradited to the U.S. on April 5, 2019, arrested at Sacramento Airport on the warrant, and booked into Solano County Jail. He remains at the Stanton Correctional Facility in Fairfield without bail.

If convicted of first-degree murder at trial, Cordoba faces 25 years to life in state prison and likely more time for the other charges and for fleeing the country.

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