People v. Jenkins

Decision Date04 May 2000
Docket NumberNo. S007522.,S007522.
CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
PartiesThe PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Daniel Steven JENKINS, Defendant and Appellant.

Michael R. Snedeker, Portland, OR, and James F. Smith, under appointments by the Supreme Court, for Defendant and Appellant.

Daniel E. Lungren and Bill Lockyer, Attorneys General, George Williamson, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Carol Wendelin Pollack, Assistant Attorney General, John R. Gorey, Robert S. Henry and Roy C. Preminger, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.


Following the guilt phase of a capital trial, in which defendant was represented by two defense counsel, a jury found defendant Daniel Steven Jenkins guilty, among other charges, of the first degree murder of and conspiracy to murder Thomas Williams (Pen.Code, §§ 182, 187),1 and of the attempted murder of George Carpenter (§§ 187, 664). The jury found true the special circumstance allegation that Williams was a peace officer who was killed intentionally in retaliation for the performance of his official duties. (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(7).) At the penalty phase, in which defendant primarily represented himself, the jury fixed the penalty at death. The trial court denied defendant's motion for new trial and for modification of the verdict, and imposed a sentence of death.

This appeal is automatic. (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 11; Pen.Code § 1239, subd. (b).) We conclude that the judgment should be affirmed in its entirety.

A. Guilt Phase Evidence
1. Prosecution case

The prosecution's evidence demonstrated that defendant planned and committed the crimes at issue in this proceeding, involving the attempted murder of George Carpenter and the conspiracy to murder and actual murder of Los Angeles Police Department Detective Thomas Williams, because in a trial for robbery Carpenter (as the robbery victim) was the principal prosecution witness against defendant and Williams was the investigating officer.

The robbery of Carpenter occurred in North Hollywood in October 1984, while Carpenter and another man were en route to deposit the day's business receipts. Carpenter supplied the police with a license number of the automobile in which the two men who had robbed him were driving, and that vehicle was traced to defendant. Defendant admitted his involvement to one of his criminal cohorts but declared his innocence to Detective Williams. Carpenter positively identified defendant, both to Williams and again at the preliminary hearing, as one of the two assailants.

a. Attempted murder of George Carpenter

Defendant made two attempts to have Carpenter killed. First, he hired Jeffrey Bryant and Todd Shaw to kill Carpenter, but called off the attempt when Shaw failed to follow his precise instructions. Jeffrey Bryant, testifying under a grant of immunity, recounted that defendant commented, "no witness, no case." On July 4, 1985, at defendant's behest, Anthony Bryant shot Carpenter, while defendant and Jeffrey Bryant established an alibi for defendant. The prosecution's evidence established that Carpenter was dining in a restaurant when a man shot him in the head, torso, and legs. After multiple surgeries, Carpenter was released from the hospital and fled the area. Jeffrey testified that he had heard Anthony admit shooting Carpenter. Jeffrey also testified that he observed defendant pay Anthony for the shooting, that he, Jeffrey, had disposed of the stolen automobile used in the shooting, and that defendant had disposed of the weapon given by defendant to Anthony to perform the shooting. Another witness, an acquaintance of defendant's named Elihue Broomfield, testified that defendant told him he had hired men to shoot Carpenter in a Hollywood bar, but that despite multiple gunshot wounds, Carpenter had survived. The prosecution also introduced telephone company records establishing contact between defendant, Shaw, and Anthony and Jeffrey Bryant prior to the shooting.

b. Murder of Detective Williams

Detective Williams was killed in a spray of gunfire in front of his son's daycare center in the early evening of October 31, 1985. Defendant (along with codefendants Duane Moody, Ruben Moss, Voltaire Williams, David Bentley, and Reecy Cooper) was charged with the murder of Detective Williams and with conspiracy to murder Williams.2

The evidence regarding defendant's involvement in the conspiracy and the murder of Detective Williams came primarily from the testimony of immunized witnesses — David Bentley, Jeffrey Bryant, Aladron Hunter, and Tyrone Hicks. Their testimony, in addition to testimony from persons who witnessed the shooting, or to whom defendant made incriminating statements, or who were involved in the disposal of the murder weapon, as well as ballistics evidence and telephone records, established that defendant directed various plans for others to kill Williams, and ultimately that defendant himself killed Williams.

Defendant solicited Jeffrey Bryant to murder Williams, telling him that he wished to prevent Williams's testimony at the Carpenter robbery trial. Defendant engaged in some planning activity with Bryant, but when Bryant found out Williams was not a security guard, as defendant had declared, but instead was a police officer, Bryant announced he would not participate.

On October 24, 1985, codefendant Voltaire Williams solicited Aladron Hunter to perform the murder, for the announced purpose of preventing the detective's testimony in court. On October 25, 1985, Voltaire drove with Hunter to defendant's home. Voltaire entered the residence and returned with a weapon. Voltaire got into an automobile identified by a witness to the shooting of the detective as being similar to the vehicle from which the shots were fired. Hunter followed Voltaire to a location a few blocks past a school and was instructed by Voltaire to wait for an orange-and-white Toyota pickup truck with a camper shell on the back. Voltaire instructed Hunter to drive by the pickup truck and shoot the intended victim in the head after the latter, whom he described, had picked up his child from the school. Voltaire stated he needed to get instructions from defendant regarding when the victim would arrive. Voltaire then retrieved the weapon from his automobile and gave it to Hunter.

Hunter found himself unable to shoot the victim when he arrived. Hunter met Voltaire later in the evening, informing him that he had not carried out the shooting and observing that he thought the intended victim was a police officer and not a security guard.

Two persons who lived near the Faith Baptist Church School in Canoga Park, where the shooting of Detective Williams occurred, testified that on October 25, 1985, they observed codefendants Moody and Moss in an automobile parked near the school. A third man seated in the rear of the vehicle may have been defendant.

Defendant also approached David Bentley two or three weeks before Halloween in 1985, for assistance in finding a contract killer. Bentley solicited Tyrone Hicks, who conferred with Moss, Bentley, and defendant regarding terms. Defendant directed Hicks to come to his home.

Two or three days before Halloween in 1985, Moss, Cooper, and Bentley picked up Hicks, informing him they were going to show him what he was supposed to do. When the men arrived at defendant's home, Hicks was introduced to defendant as the driver. Defendant went with Bentley to a lookout point and instructed him to look for a small orange Toyota or Datsun truck with a camper shell on it, stating that the man in the truck was the person he wanted to have killed, and that Bentley was to contact Moss when Bentley saw the truck and inform him of the direction the truck was headed.

Bentley waited 20 minutes, did not see the truck, and received no response when he activated Moss's pager.

In the meantime, Moss had driven Hicks and Cooper to the church school, where he gave them instructions regarding the murder. While they waited, Moss stated that previous attempts on the victim's life had failed, in one case because the gunman had lost his nerve.

Hicks observed the orange-and-white truck arrive at the school, but it departed before the plan could be executed. Defendant later berated Moss, and complained that now the victim would be able to testify against him the following day. Moss assured him they would kill the victim before then.

On the way home, Bentley informed Hicks that it was improbable that defendant would pay him more than a few hundred dollars for his participation in the crime. Hicks announced his reluctance to participate further.

An acquaintance of Hicks's recalled that Hicks had said to him that he was part of a plan to shoot a person near a school, that (as Hicks had testified) he had been picked up in a limousine and had seen the victim and the cars that were to be used, but that he had gotten scared. Additionally, Hicks's girlfriend recalled that Hicks had told her the plan was to kill a police officer, and that he had been shown where the officer picked up his son after school. Hicks told her he was supposed to be the driver, but that when the victim arrived from an unexpected direction, they abandoned the plan.

Telephone records disclosed prolific telephone contact between the homes, residences, and pager numbers of Bentley, Moss, Cooper, Moody, and Voltaire Williams in the week preceding October 31, 1985. When defendant's briefcase subsequently was seized from his sister's home, it contained notations of the names and telephone numbers of Hicks, Moody, and Moss, as well as Voltaire Williams's telephone number and the names Tyrone and Reecy.

The prosecution's evidence established that defendant ultimately took matters into his own hands. As noted, in October 1985, defendant was on trial for the robbery of Carpenter, and Detective Williams, as investigating...

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