California Jury Finds Pechanga Resort Casino Defendants Guilty of Murder

Two women were convicted Wednesday for viciously robbing and murdering an 84-year-old woman in a restroom at the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, California, according to a local news report. Candace Tai Townsel, 42, and Kimesha Monae Williams, 38, both of Moreno Valley, were found guilty by a Murrieta, California jury after only two hours of deliberation for the death of Afaf Anis Assad of Long Beach, California.

The two were convicted of first-degree murder, robbery, elder abuse, and a special charge of killing during the course of a robbery with great bodily injury, according to a Patch report.

The pair had gone to the casino on August 31, 2019 and were looking for someone to rob. As they prepared to leave, they noticed Afaf Assad accompanied by her 92-year-old husband as they walked into the facility. Williams and Townsel followed Assad into the restroom, where one of them snatched her purse, which contained between $800 and $1,200 in cash. The force used to take the bag inflicted bruises on her left arm. The other suspect then pushed Assad, causing her to fall and strike her head on the floor.

The two barricaded the restroom to keep a custodian from entering until after they had escaped with the purse. Townsel was reportedly seen skipping and waving her hands with jubilation after fleeing the property. When the custodian did eventually enter the restroom, she found Assad unconscious and bleeding. Emergency teams rushed her to the Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, though she never regained consciousness. Doctors determined that she had suffered a brain hemorrhage, and three days later she passed away.

Witness testimonies during the trial that lasted several weeks led to their arrests and eventual convictions. Their sentences are to be announced by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer at a later date. Given the severity of the charges, both defendants are likely to be sentenced to life in prison, with no option for parole. Townsel is currently being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, California, and Williams at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, California. Neither have been granted bail.

Williams is also the sister of Los Angeles Clippers basketball player Kawhi Leonard, according to The Press-Enterprise.

Two women were found guilty on Wednesday of committing a heinous robbery and murder of an 84-year