Only hours before Los Angeles Police Detective Thomas C. Williams was fatally shot last Halloween, the chief defendant in his murder told an acquaintance that the killing was going to take place that evening, the acquaintance testified Monday.
But Elihue Broomfield, testifying at a preliminary hearing for Daniel S. Jenkins and three others accused in the slaying, said that he did not think Jenkins was serious.
"People say a lot of things. . . ," said Broomfield, 33, in a barely audible voice. "I didn't believe he was going to kill the officer."
Williams, 42, was ambushed outside a Canoga Park church school the same day that he testified against Jenkins in a robbery trial.
Broomfield, a security guard for a supermarket chain, said testified Monday that he was in the San Fernando court building Oct. 31 to testify in a petty theft case. While waiting to appear, he wandered into another courtroom and recognized the defendant, Jenkins, as an acquaintance he had not seen in many years.
Although Jenkins did not recognize him at first, the witness said, the two men went to lunch together, stopping first at Jenkins' home, a short ride from the courthouse.
Jenkins, who was on trial for (and was later convicted of) the Oct. 14, 1984, robbery of North Hollywood theater manager George Carpenter, told Broomfield that "he was framed. . . (that) he didn't do it," the guard testified.
Broomfield also said Jenkins told him that he had hired someone to kill Carpenter but that the attempt had been unsuccessful. Besides being charged with murder and conspiracy involving Williams' slaying, Jenkins is accused of trying to kill Carpenter July 4.
Jenkins then told him, the guard testified, "that Thomas Williams had lied . . . that it was a setup between Williams and Carpenter." The defendant said he would exact vengeance by having the detective killed, the witness said.
Broomfield said Jenkins showed him a semiautomatic weapon, which he later realized was an Uzi, and said "he had another one like it" that he was keeping at a friend's house.
Although the guard testified that he did not believe Jenkins, he said he tried during the lunch with Jenkins "to deter his mind from the negative action (the slaying) that was about to take place."
After the killing, he waited until Jenkins and the others were arrested before calling police because he was afraid for his family's safety, the guard testified.
Outside the courtroom, Jenkins' attorney, Howard R. Price, said Broomfield's testimony was "not helpful" to the prosecution.
"Would Mr. Jenkins tell someone who is almost a complete stranger of his intentions . . . knowing that he is a security guard . . . and identifies with law enforcement?" Price asked.
The preliminary hearing before Municipal Judge Brian D. Crahan, now in its third week in a high-security courtroom, will establish whether there is enough evidence for Jenkins and his co-defendants, Rubin A. Moss, 24; Duane A. Moody, 28, and Voltaire Williams, 23, to stand trial.