(Above: LAPD photo of Detective Thomas Williams, who was murdered in 1985)
A man sentenced to 25-years-to-life for conspiring to murder LAPD Detective Thomas Williams – who was killed as he shielded his 6-year-old son from automatic gunfire outside a school in Canoga Park in 1985 – has won parole from state prison.
Voltaire Williams (left, in California Dept. of Corrections photo), no relation to the detective, was ordered released at a hearing Tuesday in Vacaville, during which members of a parole board refused Gov. Jerry Brown’s request to reconsider and reverse an initial October, 2016 decision to grant parole.
Williams has served more than 26-years for taking part in one failed “assassination” plot, but because Williams was not convicted of the murder itself, Gov. Brown was unable to overturn the board’s decision, according to officials.
Detective Williams was awarded the LAPD Medal of Valor after his death – for sacrificing his own life to save his son’s.
He was ambushed on Halloween, 1985 outside the Faith Baptist Church school on Glade Ave. by a man dressed in a costume who opened fire with a submachine gun.
That killer, almost immediately identified as Daniel Jenkins, was convicted and sentenced to death for carrying out the murder.
Jenkins was on trial for robbery and was free on bail at the time, and sought to sabotage that trial by killing Det. Williams, who was lead investigator in the robbery case and was about to testify.
Before the shooting Jenkins had recruited Voltaire Williams and a third man to act as hit men but the two backed out.
Prosecutors argued Voltaire Williams knew about the plot and could have warned police before the killing, and in later hearings it was revealed there was discussion among the conspirators to also murder Detective Williams’ wife and children.
The members of the parole board dismissed repeated pleas from the LAPD, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, Detective Williams’ widow and family, and the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office to reverse the decision.
“Please Governor Brown, do not allow the Parole Board to render this decision,” wrote Detective Williams’ widow Norma.
“Please give me and my family peace of mind. We always believed in the judicial system as well as did Tom. He was a wonderful father, husband, and friend to many. Tom’s memory and ultimate sacrifice should not be diminished due to prison “over-crowding” or economic reasons,” she wrote.
“The fact that the intent was to kill Det. Williams to prevent him from testifying against Jenkins in a robbery trial makes the thought of his parole even more alarming and a blatant slap in the face to law enforcement and public safety,” wrote L.A. Police Protective League president Craig Lally in an objection letter last year.
Voltaire Williams was denied parole twice before Tuesday’s decision, most recently in August, 2015, according to prosecutors.
He will be released in about 30 days will spend at least six months in a halfway house in Northern California.