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Man Testifies He Was Offered Money to Kill Police Detective

February 26, 1988|LYNN STEINBERG | Times Staff Writer

An admitted robber testified Thursday that Daniel S. Jenkins offered him from $5,000 to $10,000 to kill a Los Angeles police detective in 1985.

Jenkins offered two scenarios for how the killing could be carried out, said Jeffrey Bryant, who served a reduced jail sentence in an unrelated robbery in exchange for his testimony.

One was that he kill Thomas C. Williams after jumping from the bushes outside the detective's West Valley home. The other was that he shoot Williams from a car while the detective was on the street.

Bryant said he initially agreed to do the shooting but changed his mind a few days later after learning that Williams was a police detective and not a security guard, as he had been told.

In seeking to discredit Bryant, a key witness for the prosecution, defense attorneys pointed out that he had testified on another occasion that he never agreed to kill Williams.

Bryant said he had forgotten what he said earlier.

"There are so many questions y'all asked," he said, referring to questioning by attorneys. "I can't remember everything. I told the truth as much as I can."

Williams was gunned down in front of a Canoga Park church school Oct. 31, 1985, as he picked up his 6-year-old son from class. Jenkins, 32, and Ruben A. (Tony) Moss, 26, each are charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the slaying.

Others Involved

But authorities have identified Jenkins as the trigger man and ringleader in the murder conspiracy. Prosecutors said the conspiracy involved as many as nine people.

Revenge was the motive, police said. Williams testified against Jenkins at a robbery trial hours before the shooting. Jenkins was convicted later in that trial of robbing North Hollywood theater manager George Carpenter in October, 1984.

Bryant testified Thursday that Jenkins also asked him to kill Carpenter. He said Jenkins told him, "No witnesses, no case."

But Bryant said the price Jenkins was willing to pay wasn't right.

Carpenter was shot in the face in July, 1985, after he identified Jenkins as the man who had robbed him the previous October. Jenkins has been charged with attempted murder in connection with that shooting.

Jenkins and Moss are being tried together but will be judged by separate juries. Neither jury was present during Bryant's testimony, which came during a hearing to determine what evidence should be admitted to which jury.

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Judith Ashmann ruled that both juries should be present when Bryant takes the witness stand again Monday. If convicted, Jenkins and Moss face the death penalty.

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