Daniel Steven Jenkins was sentenced to death Thursday for killing a Los Angeles police officer, despite a claim by his attorney that he was treated “as if he was in Mississippi in 1932" during his trial.
But saying the trial had been fair, Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Judith Ashmann refused requests from defense attorney Howard R. Price to grant Jenkins a new trial or to commute his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Ashmann was carrying out a jury’s Aug. 30 recommendation that Jenkins, 33, of North Hollywood, a former limousine service owner, be sentenced to die in the gas chamber for the 1985 ambush slaying of off-duty Officer Thomas C. Williams on Halloween.
Williams was hit eight times with automatic pistol fire as he picked up his 6-year-old son, Ryan, at a Canoga Park day-care center.
Price accused Ashmann of refusing to grant a two-week continuance to allow Jenkins to prepare for the penalty phase of the trial because she had vacation reservations. Jenkins asked for the delay after he fired his two court-appointed lawyers and took over his defense. Price was one of those fired by Jenkins, but he still is handling Jenkins’ appeals.
“Jenkins was treated as if he was in Mississippi in 1932,” Price said at the sentencing hearing. “I believe that what happened in this case should never happen again.”
Ashmann has said Jenkins would have been prepared on time had he not refused to help his lawyers prepare for the penalty phase before he took over the defense. Several jurors would have been forced to drop off the panel if the delay had been granted, Ashmann said.
Deputy Dist. Atty Richard L. Jenkins said Daniel Jenkins, who is no relation, received a “more-than-fair trial.”
Williams’ widow, Norma, told a packed courtroom Thursday that Jenkins should be put to death for the killing, which she said shattered her life and the lives of her two children.
“Tom’s murderer has sat smugly and has displayed no remorse for his animalistic behavior,” she said.
Daniel Jenkins told the judge he is innocent, adding: “I was convicted before I was even tried.”
In his probation report, Jenkins is quoted as saying he did not kill Williams but knew about the plot to kill him.
Jenkins was convicted on July 27 of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Williams, 42, who had testified against him hours earlier in a robbery trial. Jenkins was also convicted of attempting to kill the robbery victim, George Carpenter, on July 4, 1985, in an attempt to prevent him from testifying at the robbery trial.
Jenkins’ alleged “loyal lieutenant” in Williams’ murder, Ruben A. (Tony) Moss, 26, was sentenced last week to life in prison without possibility of parole.
Jury selection is under way in the trial of three other men accused of aiding Jenkins in the murder plot.