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Homeless man deemed sane during 2005 killing of LAX officer

November 25, 2009 |  1:32 pm

A Los Angeles jury decided today that a homeless man convicted of killing an LAX officer in 2005 was sane at the time of the crime, paving the way for a likely sentence of life in prison without parole.

William Sadowski, 51, of Venice allegedly carjacked Officer Thomas Scott’s patrol vehicle, dragging the officer for a quarter-mile before hitting a fire hydrant and killing him. Authorities believed Sadowski may have been plotting to drive a vehicle onto the airfield at LAX and into an airplane.

Dressed in a striped blue button-up, his beard gray, Sadowski appeared nervous in court. After the jury’s decision was announced, his glare turned downward and his feet tapped frantically.

Scott’s relatives and co-workers at the hearing cried and embraced. Scott’s father took a box of tissues into the courtroom.

“Tommy was my heart, a very fine son,” said Hubert Scott, the officer’s father. “I miss him; I’ll always miss him.”

Hubert Scott said he has become friendly with Sadowski’s family during court proceedings -- sometimes chatting with them in the cafeteria -- and regrets the damage the incident has inflicted on both families. Scott’s death prompted an outpouring of grief at the time from airport police, who described him as a model officer.

“He was the face of the airport police,” said Capt. LaPonda Fitchpatrick, who held back tears as she recalled giving Scott his final assignment. Two officers in uniform also attended the hearing.

Jurors deliberated just a couple of hours before returning their sanity verdict. They convicted Sadowski last week of four counts, including homicide and carjacking.

Sadowski is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without parole in January. Had the jury decided he was insane at the time of the crime, he probably would have been sent to a state mental hospital.

-- Robert Faturechi at the L.A. County Courthouse downtown

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