On 2 May, 2007, Eli Wyms was arrested for attempted murder of a police officer and related weapons charges. He was 44 years of age at the time and living in Inglewood. He worked as a house painter. He was a veteran of the Iraq war and a skilled marksman. The circumstances of his arrest were as follows: Wyms had been kicked out his home by his wife. He took several weapons and drove his pickup north along the coast to Malibu and then inland to the Calabasas area. After buying some beer, he decided to camp at Malibu Creek State Park [Note: The Brass Verdict states that the park closes at sundown, but in fact overnight camping is allowed and Park rangers would have been present]. Wyms began to hear noises and was afraid that rabid coyotes might attack him. He began to fire his rifle in the air to frighten them away.
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department responded to citizen reports of gunfire. Deputy Stallworth was the first responder. On seeing Stallworth's squad car, Wyms shot out the spotlight. He continued to fire rounds in the air while Deputy Stallworth called for backup. Over a period of several hours Wyms fired at least 94 rounds. After threatening to kill himself, Wyms fell asleep and was arrested without further incident. He was taken to the Malibu Sheriff's Substation in Stallworth's vehicle.
Wyms was declared indigent and a Public Defender was initially assigned to his case. While Wyms was in jail Jerry Vincent visited him and took over the case on a pro bono basis. Vincent then requested a psychiatric assessment of Wyms. The court ordered Wyms to Camarillo State Hospital for a 90 day evaluation [Note: Camarillo State Hospital closed in 1997, ten years before this alleged incident]. After his discharge from the mental hospital Wyms was to be tried on the original charges. When Vincent was murdered, Wyms's case was taken over by Mickey Haller who immediately obtained a continuance.