Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole for 11-Year-Old Boy's Killing

Empty prison cell

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An ex-con was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of an 11-year-old boy who was kidnapped more than three decades ago while walking home from school in Inglewood.

A downtown Los Angeles jury deliberated about three hours last month before convicting Edward Donell Thomas, 53, of Pomona, of first-degree murder for the May 24, 1990, death of William Tillett.

Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a kidnapping, but could not unanimously agree on a second special circumstance allegation -- murder while lying in wait.

The boy was kidnapped just before 3 p.m. that day in the area of Imperial Highway and Crenshaw Boulevard while walking home from Kew Elementary School.

  Authorities did not determine a motive for the crime. A second man is also suspected of being involved in the crime, but there is no admissible evidence linking him to the killing, the prosecutor said after the verdict.

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