Pumar found guilty in death of William Ware

Mountain View driver convicted of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence

A jury found Matthew Pumar guilty today, Sept. 12, of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of William Ware -- who was killed on the morning of June 21, 2012 after Pumar sped through a red light at California Street and Escuela Avenue.

Jim Ware, the brother of the 50-year-old Mountain View man killed by Pumar's gray Audi A4 while he waited for the bus, said he was pleased with the verdict, but added that there are "no winners" in the ruling.

"It's incredibly sad for both families," Ware said outside the Palo Alto branch of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Ware said he had no opinion on how Pumar should be sentenced. "We got justice for Bill, we're not looking to get revenge for Bill."

Prosecutors and police said that Pumar ran a red light and swerved to avoid an oncoming truck making a lawful left turn. His car ran up on the sidewalk and hit Ware, who was waiting at the bus stop.

For his crime, the 22-year-old Mountain View man faces the possibility of six years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 21 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 87 of the Palo Alto courthouse.

Pumar, who appeared visibly nervous before the verdict was read, reacted to the ruling with a look of shock before hanging his head.

After the jury was dismissed, Deputy District Attorney Duffy Magilligan asked the judge that Pumar be taken into custody at once. Pumar's attorney, Dennis Smith, asked that his client be allowed to remain out of jail on supervised own recognizance until his sentencing date. While Judge Allison Danner said she understood Magilligan's concern, she ruled that Pumar may remain out of jail for the time being, but instructed him to report to the probation department within three business days.

Smith spoke briefly with the Voice after the verdict. As Pumar stood silently next to him, Smith said he was "disappointed" with the ruling.

"We thought we put on a strong defense," Smith said, adding, "Matt will get through it. Hopefully, down the road, he'll learn from this lesson and get on with his life."

Ware said he hopes that many lessons can be taken from the death of his brother. He said he was pleased to see that the City of Mountain View has made moves to improve the safety of certain local intersections in the time since his brother died. He also said that he didn't feel Pumar was a bad person.

"He's a kid that made a real bad decision, and my brother paid for it with his life," Ware said, adding that he hopes some good might come from the tragedy.


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Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm

A conviction is a hollow victory, as nothing will bring back Mr. Ware.

The '67' in my moniker represents the day the person who murdered one of my closest friends was convicted for his crime. Just as I will never forget my friend, I will also never forget being in the courtroom the day the verdict was read. Peace and strength to everyone touched by this tragedy.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Hopefully, vigorous investigation and prosecution of crimes like this will help to make our city's streets safer for everyone. No other families should have to suffer like Mr. Ware's family has.

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Posted by kathy
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:15 am


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Posted by NW Resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:36 am

I'm incredibly impressed with the thoughtful comments from Bill's brother Jim Ware: "incredibly sad for both families", "we're not looking to get revenge", "my brother paid for it with his life."

The Ware family has shown great strength and humility, despite their tragic loss of Bill. May they receive comfort and closure in the months to come.

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Posted by Needs more prison
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

Six years maximum sentence? This doofus deserves at least 15.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

Yes, the Ware family has expressed incredible compassion and humility throughout this ordeal.

This is an huge contrast to the Pumar family, who has apparently expressed absolutely nothing to the media or to the victims. Were they even in court to support their son? Why does the media not identify the Pumar family? Who are they? Where do they live? What do they do?

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:39 am

Did Matthew lose his privilege to drive?

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Posted by Roger Bea
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

His conviction was a no-brainer. His attorney probably misguided him into thinking he could get off (and made some money off him in the process). He should have taken the plea deal. He's totally screwed now.

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Posted by let's get real
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Wow, I can't believe some of the hateful comments. I've never seen anyone come out of prison a better person. I don't think he is a bad person, he's a young man that made a horrible mistake. It is sad for everyone involved. I don't believe in our prison system ~ anything other than that. Working in a nursing home, neonatal, the dump, prison does not equal rehabilitation.

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Posted by No Justice
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm

New to the neighborhood and know nothing about this case but am impressed with Jim Ware and those who speak of compassion, not retribution. I lost my father to a young careless driver in a parking lot. One of my sisters met with him and one of my brothers thought we should seek the maximum penalty, but to what good? Would it bring Dad back or in any way achieve justice? Would the kid be a better member of our community having served time in our horrid prison system? There is no justice, only loss. I think the kid pays more knowing that he took a life than any sentence will ever levy. He can't get away from his conscious and if he has no conscious, prison time served would have only have allowed him to believe he paid the price. Hopefully he learned enough to not risk killing someone else. Hopefully he is leading a caring, productive more careful life.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:16 pm

If Pumar wanted leniency, he should have pled guilty. He thought he could beat the system, but he forgot that Silicon Valley juries aren't easily fooled. The city has been trying for years to improve pedestrian safety along California Street, protecting our families from maniacs like Pumar. Now is the time to make an example out of him. Show other reckless drivers that if rich kids in fancy European cars can't get away with homicide, then no one else can either.

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Posted by psychologist
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:13 pm

At 22 years old, research tells us Matthew's prefrontal cortex, the part of his brain responsible for decision making, is not fully developed.
In addition, young men his age have quite a bit of testosterone. Together this leads them to be risk takers and poor decision makers. We shouldn't blame him for his behavior. We should help him make better decisions in future.

Prison will not help Matthew or us. Prison will likely have a negative impact on Matthew for the rest of his life. Studies show that many people, who have been in prison longer than 2 months develop PTSD, anxiety disorders and depression. These are permanent brain disorders. While in prison, Matthew is likely to be raped and beaten. He will witness violence, racism, and things people should not have to see or experience.

When Matthew gets out of prison he may not be able to work, go to school, or get married. They dreams he has now, and productive member of society we want him to be in the future, may be lost.

He ran a red light. We've all run red lights. It was an accident. This is a tragedy.

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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm

"We've all run red lights. It was an accident"

I don't run red lights. This was not an "accident"; it was an entirely predictable and preventable scenario. It is probably true that prison will not rehabilitate this idiot and it will likely ruin his life. Perhaps his story will give other reckless youngsters pause to think before they act as foolishly as he did.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm

If 22 year old men cannot safely drive cars, then we should not give them drivers licenses. Reckless driving is no accident.

An innocent man died a horrible death. That could have been me or my family member. Safer streets start with vigorous law enforcement.

We need to think about all the other pedestrians in this city before we worry about Pumar's marital status. If you think Pumar is likely to be raped in prison, you have been watching too many adults-only movies.

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Posted by No Justice
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:03 pm

One last try -- my earlier post didn't register. This "parent" person is like a dog on a bone. I don't know anything about Pumar, his car, his families wealth or Silicon Valley juries, I just know about senseless loss. I do not agree that youthful testosterone excuses one from reasonable consequence, but neither do I think prison reverses the harm or accomplishes anything. Hard core porn? Where does this "parent" come from other than extreme anger. Did this parent person know Bill Ware and personally grieve his loss or are all of these comments taking advantage of a tragedy to make a point? I think this parent person confuses laudable efforts for safe streets with vicious personal attack. Does "parent" truly believe that a punitive sentence would deture other kids from their wild ways? I don't think there is any evidence to support the stance. I do not defend Pumar, or know him. I simply understand Bill Ware's family's loss and their sentiment.

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Posted by Antonio
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:14 pm

If he's truly remorseful and apologies to the victims families, then I would give him at most 6 months in county jail. He doesn't deserve prison. I think he learned his lesson.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2013 at 7:15 am

Prepare yourselves. This buy could get nothing but probation.

The judge telegraphed it by not putting him in jail immediately.

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Posted by FrankSki
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 15, 2013 at 6:38 am

@ Roger Bea: Do you happen to know the plea deal?

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Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:13 am

"We've all run red lights. It was an accident"

I might agree with this kind of apologist statement if Pumar had run the red light at a normal rate of speed. But the investigation showed that he was going way over the speed limit - I believe they said in the 45-60 mph range, on a road that's marked at 35mph but should really be set to 25mph when considering all the housing, nearby schools, and pedestrian activity. That kind of recklessness is far more serious than accidentally rolling through a red light at a low speed, and is usually a symptom of someone who drives aggressively and recklessly all the time.

I tend to agree with the comments about prison not being a helpful solution here, but both as a lesson for Pumar and a deterrent to other testosterone-filled drivers, Pumar should lose his driving privilege for the full 6 years.

I think the city needs to step up here and redesign this road for safer speeds. California Street right now is designed like a drag strip, and roads like that encourage speeding. Narrow it down, put in medians, and set the speed limit lower and pedestrians will be safer. Studies show that good road design affects driver behavior... it's a fact.

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Posted by Angela Hey
Mountain View Voice Blogger
on Sep 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Angela Hey is a registered user.

"We've all run red lights."
Donald: "I don't run red lights."

If you have run a red light, never, never do it again! Be thankful you didn't cause an accident.

Next time you are on California Street look at your speedometer - if it's over the speed limit - slow down.

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Posted by Old Coot
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 16, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Lock this jerk up for the max.
If you don't like that, let hm move inwith you.
He's a waste of space.

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Posted by Fair is fair
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Like the bicyclist, who while speeding killed a person in SF, all that should happen is probation.

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Posted by Wondering
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 16, 2013 at 5:59 pm

...and I'm sure everyone commenting here drives under the speed limit and follows all the road traffic laws since the beginning of their driving careers.

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Posted by tommy_g_
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:05 am

it is a is a lesson for all......I have an 18 year daughter ....and i preach everyday.....take the foot off the gas....if its will only be 3 minutes late to wherever you are going, if late at all!!!!!!!! it's not worth it......I know she hates hearing it, but I will preach it all the always have to teach the kids....ok im out........RIP Mr Ware

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Posted by timo
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

six years is the maximum for this crime, I bet he doesn't even get six months. if he does I'll be surprised everybody should pay for their mistakes and poor decisions. we'll see what happens.

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Posted by Mr. Nice
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 19, 2013 at 10:22 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

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Posted by erika c
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

All he deserves is a strong talking to, to promise and cross his heart never ever ever kill another person again. Yeah thats the ticket, then he will never do it again.

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Posted by Community Member
a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Sentencing was supposed to happen today. Does anyone know what happened?

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Posted by Bills NIece
a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Today Matthew Pumar received 1 year in Santa Clara County Jail and 3 years probation for the murder of my uncle "Billy" Ware! Thank you to all who supported our family this past year and a half. We truly appreciate it.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 22, 2013 at 8:58 am

I'm glad that the family finally has some closure in this case.

Realistically, California courts tend to go very easy on traffic criminals and 1 year in jail is about all you can expect for a non-DUI reckless driving homicide. I hope that his drivers license is suspended during the 3 year probation. Maybe he will be mature enough to start driving again after that period.

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