TEMECULA (CBSLA) — Two women were arrested and charged with murder and robbery in connection with the death of an 84-year-old woman in Pechanga Resort Casino, one of whom is the sister of Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard, according to the victim’s family.
One of Leonard’s sisters, Kimesha Monae Williams, 35, is being held without bail along with the other suspect, 39-year-old Candace Townsel from Moreno Valley.
On Aug. 31 at 8 a.m., deputies responded to Pechanga Resort Casino located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway in Temecula to investigate a report of a female adult who was found unconscious in a bathroom.
Upon their arrival, deputies discovered a female adult, later identified as 84-year-old Afaf Anis Assad of Long Beach, who appeared to be the victim of an assault.
Assad was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries which she later died from on Sept. 4.
According to Wayne Brown, Assad’s son-in-law, he and his wife dropped Assad and her husband off at the casino around 7:30 a.m. Aug. 31, and roughly half an hour later she was found badly beaten and unconscious in a bathroom.
“She didn’t even get a chance to play,” Brown said. “I mean she had some money in her wallet because she was ready to play that day, and I don’t know if they targeted her because she just walked through the door and they knew she had money in her wallet.”
“We give ourselves this this view that we live in a world that’s safe and civil, but in the end it’s like a wild world, you know,” Brown said.
Williams and Townsel were later arrested and charged with robbery and murder due to their involvement in Assad’s death. Court records show Williams has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for grand theft auto and attempted robbery.
According to the victim’s son-in-law, Wayne Brown, the family was made aware of Williams’ connection to Leonard by investigators.
Brown released the following statement: “The family and I are aware of the connection. Obviously no one believes he was involved in any way in the incident. We’re aware that he has experienced similar tragedy in his past and we would hope that everyone is sensitive to this. I have only hope that he might keep my family in his prayers as we know he understands the pain we’re experiencing.”
Leonard’s father was fatally shot outside the carwash he owned in Compton in 2008. Leonard was 16 at the time.
Pechanga released a statement that said in part:
“We are absolutely saddened over this incident and are praying for the victim and her family. The suspects were quickly identified through surveillance footage and the information was immediately provided to law enforcement.”
The statement went on to say that the casino prided itself on putting the safety of its guests first.
Anyone with information regarding this case was encouraged to contact Investigator Gray of the Southwest Station at (951) 696-3000 or Investigator Dickey of the Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777.