A 50-year-old Pomona man pleaded not guilty Thursday to capital murder in the killing of an 11-year-old boy who was abducted in May 1990 as he walked home from school in Inglewood.
Edward Donell Thomas, 50, is charged with the May 24, 1990, death of William Tillett, who was walking home from Kew Elementary School when he was abducted at about 3 p.m. near Imperial Highway and Crenshaw Boulevard. William's body was found hours later in a carport in a Hawthorne neighborhood.
The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a kidnapping and murder while lying in wait. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Thomas, who also is facing a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.
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Thomas was arrested Feb. 14 by Inglewood police and has remained jailed without bail. Authorities have not released details about how the boy was killed or what led investigators to Thomas.
Police said they do not believe Thomas acted alone.
"I just want to keep the momentum going and plead with the community to come forward," Hubert Tillett, the boy’s father, told the LA Times. "Take a look at this picture, and if anything jogs your mental Rolodex from three decades ago, please contact (police)."
William was about six blocks from home when he was abducted, police said. He left school with some friends, but walked the final few blocks alone.
His parents reported William missing when he didn't call them at work and arrived home to find he wasn't there. About six hours later, his body was found in the Hawthorne carport.
Thomas is due back May 1 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial.