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Schwarzenegger Denies Clemency for Williams
By DAVID KRAVETS, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - Gov. With a federal court refusing to grant a reprieve, Williams, 51, was set to die by injection at San Quentin Prison early Tuesday for murdering four people during two 1979 holdups.

Williams' case became one of the nation's biggest death-row cause celebres in decades. It set off a nationwide debate over the possibility of redemption on death row, with Hollywood stars and capital punishment foes arguing that Williams had made amends by writing children's books about the dangers of gangs.

But Schwarzenegger suggested Monday that Williams' supposed change of heart was not genuine, noting that the inmate had not owned up to his crimes or shown any real remorse for the countless killings committed by the Crips.

"Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?" Schwarzenegger wrote less than 12 hours before the execution. "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."

Williams' supporters were disappointed with the governor's refusal to commute the death sentence to life in prison without parole.

"The governor's 96-hour wait to give an answer was a cowardly act and was tortuous," said former "M A S H" star Mike Farrell, a death penalty opponent. "I would suggest that had he the courage of his convictions he could have gone over to San Quentin and met with Stanley Williams himself and made a determination rather than letting his staff legal adviser write this garbage."

Williams stood to become the 12th person executed in California since lawmakers reinstated the death penalty in 1977.

He was condemned in 1981 for gunning down convenience store clerk Albert Owens, 26, at a 7-Eleven in Whittier and killing Yen-I Yang, 76, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, 63, and the couple's daughter Yu-Chin Yang Lin, 43, at the Los Angeles motel they owned. Williams claimed he was innocent.

Just before the governor announced his decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals denied Williams' request for a reprieve, saying there was no "clear and convincing evidence of actual innocence." The appeals court then declined to reconsider and lawyers filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Defense lawyers also asked Schwarzenegger to reconsider his decision based on three new witnesses who they say surfaced in the last week.

The last California governor to grant clemency was Ronald Reagan , who spared a mentally infirm killer in 1967. Schwarzenegger — a Republican who has come under fire from members of his own party as too accommodating to liberals — rejected clemency twice before during his two years in office.

In denying clemency to Williams, Schwarzenegger said that the evidence of his guilt was "strong and compelling," and he dismissed suggestions that the trial was unfair.

Schwarzenegger also pointed out the brutality of the crimes, noting that Williams allegedly said about one of the killings, "You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him." According to the governor's account, Williams then made a growling noise and laughed for five to six minutes.

In addition, the governor noted that Williams dedicated his 1998 book "Life in Prison" to a list of figures that included the black militant George Jackson — "a significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems."

Schwarzenegger also noted that there is "little mention or atonement in his writings and his plea for clemency of the countless murders committed by the Crips following the lifestyle Williams once espoused. The senseless killing that has ruined many families, particularly in African-American communities, in the name of the Crips and gang warfare is a tragedy of our modern culture."

Williams and a friend founded the Crips in Los Angeles in 1971. Authorities say it is responsible for hundreds of deaths, many of them in battles with the rival Bloods for turf and control of the drug trade.

Among the celebrities who took up Williams' cause were Jamie Foxx, who played the gang leader in a cable movie about Williams; rapper Snoop Dogg, himself a former Crip; Sister Helen Prejean, the nun depicted in "Dead Man Walking"; abd Bianca Jagger. During Williams' 24 years on death row, a Swiss legislator, college professors and others nominated him for the Nobel Prizes in peace and literature.

"If Stanley Williams does not merit clemency," defense attorney Peter Fleming Jr. asked, "what meaning does clemency retain in this state?"

The impending execution resulted in feverish preparations over the weekend by those on both sides of the debate, with the California Highway Patrol planning to tighten security outside the prison.

A group of about three dozen death penalty protesters were joined by the Rev. At least publicly, the person apparently least occupied with his fate seemed to be Williams himself.

"Me fearing what I'm facing, what possible good is it going to do for me? How is that going to benefit me?" Williams said in a recent interview. "If it's my time to be executed, what's all the ranting and raving going to do?"

Calif. High Court Refuses Williams' Stay
Calif. High Court Refuses Williams' Stay By DAVID KRAVETS, Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court late Sunday refused to grant a stay of execution for convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams, meaning the former gang leader who became an outspoken critic of gang violence will be executed early Tuesday unless the governor grants clemency or a last-ditch federal appeal succeeds. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a letter that they had a new witness who could help prove Williams' innocence.

"All we need now is time to investigate to make sure this story is real," said NAACP California President Alice Huffman. "We're hoping and praying for clemency, but we're not going to leave any stone unturned."

Schwarzenegger said last week that he was agonizing over Williams' request for clemency.

Prosecutors and family members of the victims have urged him to deny the request, in part because Williams continues to deny guilt in the slayings. No clemency request has been granted in California since 1967, when spared a mentally ill killer.

Following the state Supreme Court ruling, lawyers for Williams immediately asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here to block his looming execution. A decision was expected Monday.

Williams' supporters, an outspoken group ranging from community leaders to actors and rappers, have held rallies in his support and argue that executing Williams would send the wrong message.

They say he has redeemed himself by speaking out against violence and writing children's books on the evils of gang life. During his 24 years at San Quentin, the Crips street gang founder turned his life around to the point that a Swiss legislator, college professors and others repeatedly submitted his name for Nobel peace and literature prizes.

Williams, 51, was condemned for the slaying of a man during a robbery in February 1979 and the deaths of a couple and their daughter at a South Los Angeles motel the following month.

He denies committing the murders but has apologized for founding the Crips, a gang prosecutors blamed for thousands of murders in Los Angeles and beyond.

Williams is scheduled for lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. He would be the 12th inmate executed by the state since California reinstated the death penalty in 1977.

The state Supreme Court ruled 6-0 against staying his execution, saying Williams' last-minute appeal lacked merit and was untimely. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Brault had implored the justices early Sunday to dismiss the petition, writing that it "is without merit and is manifestly designed for delay."

The justices earlier had denied a defense request to reopen the case over allegations that shoddy forensics linked a weapon used in three of the murders to a shotgun registered to Williams.

In the defense request for a stay of execution, attorney Verna Wefald had argued that Los Angeles County prosecutors failed to disclose at trial that witness Alfred Coward was not a U.S. citizen and that he had a violent criminal history. Coward is now in prison in Canada for the murder of a man during a robbery.

"All of the witnesses who implicated Williams were criminals who were given significant incentives to testify against him and ongoing benefits for their testimony," Wefald wrote.

The California Supreme Court, a federal district court judge in Los Angeles, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the

  • Click here forn Stanley "Tookie" Williams case information

  • Emergency Stay Sought for Tookie Williams
    By DAVID KRAVETS, Associated Press Writer


    AP Photo: Co-founder of the 'Crips' gang Zane Smith, 50, speaks out against violence during a discussion...
    SAN FRANCISCO - Prosecutors asked the California Supreme Court on Sunday to reject former gang leader and convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams' request to block his execution, set for early Tuesday.

    The request "is without merit and is manifestly designed for delay," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Brault wrote.

    Brault's brief came hours after a lawyer for Williams urged the court to issue a stay of execution on the grounds that Williams should have been allowed to argue at his 1981 trial that someone else killed one of his four alleged victims. The defense also noted state lawmakers are expected to consider a moratorium on the death penalty next month.

    The justices didn't immediately rule. They earlier denied defense attorney Verna Wefald's request to reopen the case because of allegations that shoddy forensics linked a weapon used in three of the 1979 murders to a shotgun registered to Williams.

    Williams has also appealed to Gov.

    Williams, who co-founded the Crips street gang, has spoken out against violence during his 24 years at San Quentin and has written children's books on the evils of gang life. His supporters say he has redeemed himself and that to execute him would send the wrong message.

    Clemency has been rare in California, though. Schwarzenegger denied the only two previous clemency requests to cross his desk. The last California governor to grant clemency was Ronald Reagan, who spared a mentally ill killer in 1967.

    Williams, 51, was convicted of killing a man during a robbery in February 1979 and of murdering a couple and their daughter at a South Los Angeles motel in March 1979.

    He denies committing the murders but has apologized for founding the Crips, a gang prosecutors blamed for thousands of murders in Los Angeles and beyond.

    In the petition to the state's highest court late Saturday, Wefald told the justices that Los Angeles County prosecutors failed to disclose at trial that witness Alfred Coward was not a U.S. citizen and that he had a violent criminal history. Coward is now in prison in Canada for the murder of a man during a robbery.

    "All of the witnesses who implicated Williams were criminals who were given significant incentives to testify against him and ongoing benefits for their testimony," Wefald wrote.

    The California Supreme Court, a federal district court judge in Los Angeles, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the

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