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Governor denies clemency for Tookie Williams

first_imgGov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied the clemency petition of Stanley Tookie Williams this afternoon, and Williams’ legal team vowed to continue fighting to save the death row inmate’s life until his scheduled execution at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Williams, a leader of the Crips in the 1970s often credited for founding the violent street gang, was convicted in 1981 of murdering four people in two 1979 robberies. He still maintains his innocence. Jonathan Harris, Williams’ attorney, said he will seek a stay of execution from both the governor and the courts based on new evidence from three witnesses who came forward in the last week. This afternoon, Williams’ legal team filed petitions to both the governor’s office and the U.S. Supreme Court. Three people have come forward to the defense team in the past week with evidence suggesting Williams was framed, Harris said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “What these people have come forward and said corroborates what Stanley Williams has been saying for 25 years, that he is innocent,” Harris said. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will consider Williams’ petitions for a stay and to reopen the case. O’Connor can act on the petitions alone or refer them to the full court for consideration. Earlier in the day, Williams’ defense team was dealt two blows in the span of an hour – a federal appeals court rejected a request for a stay, and Schwarzenegger rejected Williams’ request for clemency. The clemency request was based on Williams’ claim of redemption. For the past decade, he has tried to spread an anti-gang message from his San Quentin jail cell. He wrote nine children’s books and outlined a formula for gang truces on his Web site, www.tookie.com. Schwarzenegger, though, questioned Williams’ redemption. He said he has not apologized for his crimes, his writing has little mention of atonement and the dedication to his book “Life in Prison” includes violent criminals. He also questioned the effectiveness of Williams’ books. “It is hard to assess the effect of such efforts in concrete terms, but the continued pervasiveness of gang violence leads one to question the efficacy of Williams’ message,” Schwarzenegger wrote in the clemency decision. “Williams co-founded the Crips, a notorious street gang that has contributed and continues to contribute to predatory and exploitative violence.” Williams’ supporters consider him an effective anti-gang voice that potential gang members can relate to and argue that silencing that voice will cost lives on the street. His critics say he is an unrepentant, cold-blooded killer who has never apologized for his crimes and refuses to provide information about gang members – proof he has not renounced his gang past. The case has galvanized both sides of the death penalty argument. Led by a star-studded cast, including actor Jamie Foxx, rapper Snoop Dogg and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Williams supporters and anti-death penalty activists have held frequent rallies and protests, urging Schwarzenegger to grant clemency. Law enforcement leaders, prosecutors and conservatives have been just as vocal arguing against clemency. — Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 546-3669 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more