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Police critic pleads guilty to stalking

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William Jarvis Peay
William Jarvis Peay

A notorious police critic has pleaded guilty to stalking and agreed to serve about nine months in jail.

Napa resident William Jarvis Peay, 55, was arrested in September after prosecutors say he violated restraining orders that three Napa Police officers have against him.

He was charged with three felony counts of stalking, three felony counts of making criminal threats, one felony count of possession of a deadly weapon and three counts of misdemeanor violation of a restraining order.

On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of felony stalking. Peay remains in custody on $100,000 bail.

 Attorneys agreed to a sentence of 270 days in jail and three years probation. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison at a sentencing Napa County Superior Court Judge Stephen Kroyer set for 8:30 a.m. Nov. 10.Peay’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kris Keeley, was unavailable for comment.

In late November, Napa County Court Commissioner Michael Williams ordered Peay to stay at least 100 yards away from Napa Police Sgt. Brian Campagna and Sgt. Ryan Cole and not to annoy, threaten or harass them.

Napa police have also previously obtained restraining orders against Peay on behalf of Lt. Debbie Peecook, retired Sgt. Tim Cantillon and retired officer Rudy Ornelas.

The orders were in reaction to several occasions when Peay filmed their homes, published officers’ addresses, brandished weapons in his public access channel show “Jarvis Journal” and confronted off duty officers, prosecutors said.

On Aug. 27, a letter to the editor Peay wrote was published in the Napa Sentinel. He characterizes Campagna and Cole in unsavory terms. One paragraph ends with “Death is tender. Death is cool. Death is how I’ll follow you.”

According to court document, other harassing behavior occurred between Aug. 1 and Sept. 15.

During a search of his home, police found a pair of metal knuckles and several ads for firearms.

A person who has a restraining order against them can’t possess a firearm.

When his behavior is considered in its entirety, it is “disturbing and extremely threatening,” said Chief Deputy District attorney Michael O’Reilley.

Laws against stalking weren’t meant to curb criticism, but stop those who instill fear of death or injury to others, he said.

Peay violated the officers and their families’ right to privacy, O’Reilley said.

“We were concerned that if Peay were not incarcerated, somebody was going to be killed — either Peay would act on his fantasies and threats or someone would respond violently in self defense,” he said.

O’Reilley said he believes the sentence is appropriate because Peay ignored the restraining order and continued his pattern of threatening behavior.

“He obviously considered himself above the law,” he said. “Maybe he will get the message this time."

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