Ambush Death Gun Supplier Acquitted on 1 of 2 Charges

Times Staff Writer

A man who supplied a gun used in the ambush slaying of a Los Angeles police detective was acquitted Wednesday of conspiracy to commit murder, but still faces a murder charge.

Judge Kathryne Ann Stoltz ordered a Van Nuys Superior Court jury that rendered the partial verdict to resume deliberations today on the murder charge against Duane Moody, 28. Stoltz issued the order despite a statement by the jury’s foreman that jurors are deadlocked.

Moody was one of three men charged with helping plan the slaying of Detective Thomas C. Williams, who was shot to death in October, 1985, as he picked up his 6-year-old son at a Canoga Park school.

The same jury convicted Voltaire Williams, 26, of conspiracy to commit murder last month but acquitted him of first-degree murder. Last week, Reecy Clem Cooper, 34, was acquitted of both charges.


2 Others Convicted

Two other men, Daniel Jenkins, 33, and Rubin Antonio Moss, 26, were convicted of murder in a separate trial last year. In October, Jenkins was sentenced to die in the gas chamber, and two months later, Moss received a sentence of life imprisonment.

Moody, who broke into sobs after Wednesday’s verdict, admitted furnishing the automatic assault weapon used to kill the detective and was accused of helping to hide the gun. His attorney, James Epstein, said Moody gave the gun to Jenkins because he feared him. However, he said that his client had put glue in the gun’s safety in an effort to render it inoperable.

Stoltz said there is a possibility that the jury considering Moody’s fate could be instructed to deliberate on a lesser charge of accessory to murder if they cannot reach agreement. That decision will be up to the district attorney’s office, she said.

But Prosecutor Bill Gravlin said he could opt to retry Moody for first-degree murder instead of allowing the jury to consider a lesser charge.