Ex-Limo Service Owner Sentenced to Die in Officer’s Revenge Slaying
A former limousine service owner was sentenced to death Thursday for the 1985 revenge-murder of a police detective who testified against him in a robbery trial only hours before he was killed.
Amid extremely tight security, Daniel S. Jenkins, 33, who was convicted in July of murdering off-duty detective Thomas Williams, was sentenced to die in the gas chamber.
Shortly before the sentencing by Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Judith Ashmann, Williams’ widow, Norma, and his daughter, Susan, addressed the court.
“When he was killed, my life was changed around completely,” the college-aged daughter said, barely choking back tears. “My father, who I loved dearly, was supposed to be around for all my special events like my prom and my graduation.
“Every girl dreams of her father seeing his daughter on her wedding day. Mine can’t be there.”
Norma Williams called Jenkins “amoral” and “scum.”
Jenkins told the judge he was denied a fair trial because he is black.
“I was convicted before I was even tried,” said Jenkins, a one-time owner of a limousine company in North Hollywood. “It may take until the turn of the century until a minority person can receive a fair trial in Van Nuys, California.”
“I’ve been treated (like) a combination of Al Capone and Sirhan Sirhan,” he said, noting the heavy security, including at least 11 bailiffs in the court and a shotgun-toting bailiff outside.
Jenkins shot and killed Williams, 42, on Oct. 31, 1985, hours after the officer testified against Jenkins in a robbery trial.
At the conclusion of the penalty phase of his trial in August, jurors recommended that Jenkins be put to death in the gas chamber at San Quentin Prison.
Jenkins was sentenced to an additional 25 years to life in prison for masterminding the conspiracy to murder Williams and for attempting to murder the victim in the robbery case, theater manager George Carpenter, to prevent him from testifying.
Williams was hit by machine gun fire from a passing car as he picked up his 6-year-old son from a Canoga Park child-care center. The boy escaped injury.
A day after the killing, Jenkins was convicted of the Oct. 14, 1984, armed robbery of Carpenter.
The district attorney’s office said Jenkins tried to kill Carpenter on July 4, 1985, to prevent him from testifying against him at the robbery trial. Carpenter was shot in the face by a gunman while eating dinner in a restaurant near the North Hollywood theater he managed.
Jenkins was sentenced in 1986 to eight years in state prison for the robbery.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.