A Lancaster man was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday after prosecutors say he continuously attacked and harassed an interracial couple who lived next door to him, at one point opening fire on their home.
William Dean Nickel, 49, had previously pleaded no contest to shooting at an inhabited dwelling on May 4, at least one year after he began tormenting his next-door neighbors in the 200 block of East Avenue J-12, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Nickel’s insulting conduct had allegedly carried on for months before he fired a shotgun into the couple’s bedroom window last August.
Although the couple had secured a criminal protective order at that point, Nickel continued to make them feel unsafe, throwing a rock through the bedroom window, the DA’s office said.
The offensive behavior at various times included the shouting of racial epithets at the couple, along with vandalizing their home and blasting loud music, according to court testimony.
Nickel was arrested while out on bond this January, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
Sheriff’s officials did not say why authorities had been called to the home that day, but did say he was taken into custody on suspicion of intimidating a witness or victim, criminal threats and vandalism, along with an existing warrant for shooting at the couple’s home.