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Man Sentenced for Hit-Run Death in 1984

November 01, 1986

A Palm Springs man who led authorities on a two-year, three continent chase has been sentenced to four years in prison in the hit-run death of a La Canada Flintridge teen-ager.

Thomas Anthony Williamson, 35, pleaded guilty in Indio Superior Court to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and felony hit and run in a 1984 accident that killed Kent Andrew States, 15, on a Palm Springs highway.

In exchange, charges of driving under the influence were dropped.

Attorneys for both sides believed it would be difficult to convict Williamson on the drunk-driving charge because the defendant's blood alcohol sample had been misplaced.

Williamson was arrested after States' death but charges were dismissed when key witnesses could not be located. When the case was refiled, Williamson fled to Great Britain. He later moved to Uganda and Kenya, where he was extradited this June.

Randy States, the victim's father, said he regrets that the case did not go to trial, where Williamson faced a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison if convicted.

"I'm disappointed at the system, and I'm angry and very bitter that I've lost my son," he said after the sentencing Thursday.

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