SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

California | Police State and Prisons

CA Supreme Court refuses request by lawyers for Williams to reopen the case.
by repost
Wednesday Nov 30th, 2005 5:21 PM
The demonstrations came as the California Supreme Court refused a request by lawyers for Williams to reopen the case.



Posted on Wed, Nov. 30, 2005


Rallies held throughout state to urge clemency for Williams

ROBERT JABLON
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - Death penalty opponents rallied around the state Wednesday to urge Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to save the life of convicted killer-turned-gang peace activist Stanley Tookie Williams.

The demonstrations came as the California Supreme Court refused a request by lawyers for Williams to reopen the case.

The co-founder of the Crips street gang is scheduled to die Dec. 13 by lethal injection after being convicted of murdering four people in 1979.

Schwarzenegger plans a meeting on Dec. 8 with prosecutors and lawyers for Williams who are seeking clemency.

"What I want to do is make sure we make the right decisions, because we're dealing here with a person's life," Schwarzenegger said.

Eleven rallies on behalf of Williams were scheduled throughout the day from San Diego to Sacramento to coincide with hundreds of demonstrations around the globe for "World Cities Against the Death Penalty Day."

In Sacramento, about 30 people, mostly religious leaders and activists, turned out for a chilly protest outside City Hall.

Amanda Wilcox, whose 19-year-old daughter Laura was gunned down in 2001, said she doesn't support the death penalty.

"If killing is so wrong, how can it be right to kill?" Wilcox asked.

Gail Erlandson, a retired theology teacher at a private girls high school, told the crowd she and three students met Williams at San Quentin prison several years ago.

Other inmates "stood in respect and called out a word which in Swahili means leader," she said.

Williams, 51, was convicted of murdering a Whittier convenience store clerk and three people at a Pico Rivera motel less than two weeks later. He denies committing the crimes.

Some people are convinced Williams should die, including a former acquaintance.

"Tookie really murdered those people," Jimel Barnes, 52, of Compton said at Los Angeles City Hall before a rally there.

Williams "went around South-Central bragging about it," said Barnes, who is also cited by some as a co-founder of the Crips.

The Los Angeles rally attracted about 40 people, including clergy, death penalty opponents and the Black Riders, a group of youths in black clothing and camouflage outfits who raised the clenched-fist black power salute and chanted "Let Tookie live!"

"We're all remaining optimistic, we're all remaining prayerful," said Bonnie Williams-Taylor, Williams' ex-wife and mother of one of his sons. She said her ex-husband was convicted to be a "fall guy" for out-of-control gang violence.

Organizers said rapper Snoop Dogg, actor Jamie Foxx and others who have publicly supported clemency would meet at the downtown Los Angeles library to read selections from books written by Williams urging youngsters to avoid gangs.

In San Francisco, more than 50 people lined the steps of City Hall to denounce the death penalty and urge the governor to spare Williams.

"We need to save him not only for himself but for all of us and what he can teach us," said Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, urged passage of legislation that would temporarily suspend the death penalty until a state commission completes a two-year study of capital punishment.

"There's so many children from my neighborhood ... they have no hope," Cheryl Denson, 40, said in Los Angeles. "They need light, and Tookie Williams is their light."

It's important "to see a man who's 10 times worse than they are telling them to put the guns down," she said.

---

Associated Press writers Terence Chea in San Francisco and Juliet Williams in Sacramento contributed to this report.



© 2005 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.mercurynews.com