LOS ANGELES – A former convict has been convicted of killing an 11-year-old boy who was kidnapped more than three decades ago while returning home from school in Inglewood.
A jury in downtown Los Angeles discussed about three hours Thursday before convicting Edward Donell Thomas, 53, of Pomona, of first-degree murder for the May 24, 1990 death of William Tillett.
The lawyers also found the allegation of special circumstance for murder during the execution of a kidnapping to be true, but could not unanimously agree on a second allegation of special circumstance – murder in ambush.
The boy was abducted shortly before 3pm that day in the area of Imperial Highway and Crenshaw Boulevard while returning home from Kew Elementary School.
Authorities did not determine the motive for the crime.
“We do not know if he was forcibly removed from the road or seduced into the vehicle,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman told lawyers Wednesday in her closing speech.
The boy was found unconscious and was not breathing shortly before 10pm that night at a vehicle port in a residential neighborhood in Hawthorne. He was drowned and his hands and feet were tied with adhesive tape, according to the deputy district attorney.
“The family has been waiting for many years,” the prosecutor told the jury. “Science has finally caught the defendant.”
She noted that DNA testing on the boy’s pants revealed “tactile DNA” – apparently from skin cells – that was linked to Thomas’s DNA profile and that “had continued, stayed and survived”. for 30 years “.
The prosecutor claimed that the only reasonable explanation for the DNA was Thomas making direct contact with the boy.
Thomas’s DMV application in July 1989 showed that he lived in Gardena, just under two miles from where the boy’s body remained, according to Silverman.
Defense attorney Rodolfo Navarro countered that his client “did not kidnap, kill or ambush”.
“In this case, the people issue is full of holes,” Thomas’s lawyer told lawyers.
Navarro told lawyers there were other ways, including the secondary transfer, that Thomas’s DNA could have gotten into the boy’s pants.
Defense attorney said there was “no evidence that Mr. Thomas abducted William or aided and abetted the murder” and that no one identified Thomas as one of the two men who were seen in a silver Datsun shortly before the body was dumped.
He suggested a theory that someone else kidnapped and killed the boy and then called on his client to throw away the body – something his client was not accused of.
Thomas – who the prosecutor said had a 1979 Datsun 280Z silver at the time – was arrested in February 2019 by Inglewood police. Since then he has been left behind bars.
Thomas did not complain of a specific charge of being a criminal in possession of a firearm.
He is facing life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, with the sentence set April 20 before High Court Judge Lisa Lench.
A second person is also suspected of being involved in the crime, but there is no admissible evidence linking him to the murder, the prosecutor said after the verdict.
Pomona man convicted in 1990 kidnapping and killing of boy, 11, in Inglewood – Daily Bulletin Source link Pomona man convicted in 1990 kidnapping and killing of boy, 11, in Inglewood – Daily Bulletin