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Stanley Tookie Williams, Executed on 12/13/2005

by Mahtin (themahtin at
Stanley Tookie Williams III was executed early this morning by lethal injection administered by the state of California.
Stanley Tookie Williams III was executed early this morning by lethal injection administered by the state of California. Williams, who was just weeks from his 52nd birthday, is said to have been a co-founder of the Crips gang in Los Angeles. In 1981, he was convicted of the 1979 murders of four people in the Los Angeles area. After 6.5 years in solitary confinement on Death Row at San Quentin, he renounced his past gang affiliation. He wrote several books and started programs to discourage youth from joining gangs. A film starring Jamie Foxx entitled "Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story," was made to tell his story. Following the release of this film, celebrities such as rap artist Snoop Dogg joined the fight to save the life of Williams. Williams never admitted to having committed the murders for which he was convicted. This was one reason that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cited for denying him clemency. Schwarzenegger is the governor who renamed the California Department of Corrections to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, but he does not seem to believe that Stanley Tookie Williams experienced rehabilitation or redemption.

Supporters of Williams tried to submit issues to various legal bodies in hopes of being granted a stay of execution. If a 60-day stay had been granted, it would have given time for courts to examine the legal issues that are outstanding in the case. It would have also given California's legislative bodies a chance to vote on AB 1121, the California Moratorium on Executions Act. Read more from Californians for a Moratorium on Executions The death warrant for Stanley Tookie Williams was signed in October. His execution date was set for December, while the two other men whose warrants were signed that day received execution dates in January and February of 2006. Read more

In the days before his death, a new witness appeared: Gordon Von Ellerman has reported that he had knowledge that Oglesby, a witness who testified against Williams, had in 1979-80 been studying to help frame Williams. Von Ellerman named several other people who he thought could corroborate his statement.

One issue in appeals in this case highlighted the fact that the prosecutor in Tookie's original trial removed three African-American jurors from the jury. During this trial, this prosecutor made racially-coded remarks during his closing argument, comparing Stan during the trial to a Bengal tiger in the zoo and stating that a black community - South Central Los Angeles - was equivalent to the natural "habitat" of a Bengal Tiger. The U.S. Supreme Court disregarded 9 of the 24 Ninth Circuit Court judges' assertion that the District Attorney at Tookie's trial employed "reprehensible and unconstitutional" racist tactics. This landmark ruling means that all over the US, people of color can be rejected from juries based on the color of their skin.

Petitions to the US Justice Department and to Governor Schwarzenegger (1 | 2) were signed by hundreds of thousands of people, and many, many letters and phone calls were issued-- to no avail. Interviews: Democracy Now | Flashpoints | Wake Up Call 12/12/05 | What I would do with the rest of my life
People who met with Stanley Tookie Williams: Rev. Jesse Jackson | Jamie Foxx | Snoop Dogg

More statements:
Death Row prisoner Steve Allen Champion, a.k.a. Adisa Akanni Kamara | Political prisoner Kalima Aswad | Tom Hayden | Mesha Monge-Irizarry | NAACP Press Conference via Telephone during 12/12 Women's Show on KPFA, including attorneys for Williams | Death Penalty Focus | NAACP

Past Indybay coverage from Indybay's Police State Page:
People's Clemency Hearing and Protests on 12/12 | November 30th Day of Action Against Executions | Teach-ins, Day of Action, November 19th Rally at San Quentin | October 2005: Supreme Court Says Racial Bias Doesn't Merit Appeal | 2/2/05 | | Campaign to End the Death Penalty | Death Penalty Focus | Wikipedia's biography of Stanley Tookie Williams
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