Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Unit 1012 Cover Photo

Thursday, December 13, 2012


NOTICE: The following articles are written by the authors themselves and not by me, I am not trying to violate their copyright. I will give some information on them.

            On this day (December 13, 2005), Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams was executed by lethal injection by the State of California. He deserved to die for what he did and there is no way, I would honor him for writing children’s’ books. I will post some quotes from the victims’ families and several articles from different people who felt he must die.

Summary: In the early morning hours of February 28, 1979, Williams and three friends were riding around in two cars, smoking PCP-laced cigarettes, looking to "make some money." After making two unsuccessful restaurant and liquor store robbery attempts, they eventually went to a 7-Eleven store where 26 year old Army veteran and father of two, Albert Lewis Owens, was working the overnight shift and sweeping the parking lot. Armed with a shotgun, Williams led Owens to the back room of the store. While one of the companions emptied the cash register drawer and took $120, the defendant ordered Owens to get on his knees and then shot him twice in the back with the shotgun. Williams said later that he did so to eliminate witnesses. One of his accomplices testified at trial that Williams later made fun of the noises made by Owens when he was shot, causing Williams to laugh hysterically. 

Eleven days later, at about 5:30 a.m., Williams and another man broke down the door and entered the Brookhaven Motel at 10411 South Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles and shot to death 76-year old Thsai Shai Young, his 63-year old wife Yen-I Yang and their 43-year old daughter Ye Chen Lin. He took $50 in cash and left. 

Williams and Raymond Washington co-founded the Crips, a street gang, in 1971. While incarcerated on Death Row, Williams gained notoriety by authoring children's books with an anti-gang message and promoting peace. In recent years, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature and for Peace. He gained unparalelled support from celebrities and anti-death penalty activists, including Mike Farrell, Jesse Jackson, Jamie Foxx, and others who argued that his work and redemption on death row merited a reprieve from execution.

Albert Lewis Owens
"He killed my father, and that will never change," she said. "I think he is a horrible and awful man. 

"I don't think it's fair that he gets to breathe and walk around and have interactions, and my father, whose only crime was showing up for work, can't do those things," Owens said. "The impact that my father's death had on me is long-reaching and affects me today." 

Rebecca Owens has been pushing for Williams' execution since she found out he was still alive. She says her father's life should be spotlighted rather than Williams'.

She has distant memories of her father, of him running on the beach, working on cars in the front yard, and laughing at her aversion to liver. 

She has flown to California to visit his grave and to speak about the effect the crime had on her. She initiated a boycott of "Redemption," the film starring Jamie Foxx that tells the story of Williams' life. And she plans to be at San Quentin State Prison when Williams dies by lethal injection. 

"I want it to be done, to see it over," she said. 

"He hasn't even confessed -- how can he be a model?" Owens said. "If people choose not to go into crime after reading his work, that's because they choose it, not because of him. 

"He refuses to take responsibility for his actions," she said. "His apology (for the gang lifestyle), give me a break. His victims are still faceless people. I don't want him dead because I think the death penalty will deter people from crime, but I do believe he should not be living on taxpayer money." 

Albert Owens' stepmother, Lora Owens, wrote a letter to Schwarzenegger saying that Williams does not deserve clemency and that his professed redemption is an atrocity. 

"To be redeemed, one must accept responsibility for the deeds and not claim to be redeemed to get out of the punishment set forth," Lora Owens wrote. "Williams has declared his own style of redemption for his own gain. 

"He is a murderer and has caused the Owens family anguish for the last 26 years," she wrote. "His just punishment, his execution, could provide us some closure and peace." 

"If there is a controversy against the death penalty, then they need to go to the legislature and work to get it changed, but don't stand behind a killer like Williams because then they don't care what he did," she said. "It could have been your child instead of our child." 

A pro death penalty demonstrator holds a sign reading Hang the Bastard makes his way through the crowd gathered at the east gate.

Should we kill this Crip?
He's a murderer. He should die.
By Joshua Marquis, district attorney of Clatsop County, Ore., is vice president of the National District Attorneys Assn. and co-author of "Debating the Death Penalty."
December 4, 2005

There are heartfelt moral and religious reasons to oppose capital punishment, but holding up Stanley Tookie Williams as a symbol of redemption is absurd and obscene.

It is especially offensive to his victims' families, whose names the celebrities championing his cause probably don't know. News coverage rarely mentions Albert Owens or the Yang family, all gunned down by Williams in a series of crimes in 1979. The Crips' reputed co-founder also bears moral responsibility for the deaths of countless young black men.

Williams told the BBC in a 2003 interview that his imprisonment is the result of "bad karma." He is more right than he probably intended. Karma is the consequence of choices freely made. Williams chose death for a lot of people, without justice, without appeal, without consideration of anything other than his totalitarian goals.

Stripped of his celebrity, Williams isn't much different from the more than 600 men on California's death row. He killed multiple victims, he has never taken responsibility for his crimes, and he has had decades to fight his death sentence.

Not only did he brag to his brother about the dying anguish of Owens, but after slaughtering the Yang family, he boasted to fellow gang members he had killed "some buddhaheads." His true distinction comes only in his possibly being the second African American among the 12 people the state of California has executed in the last 35 years.

According to a Gallup poll in May, nearly 75% of Americans support capital punishment for murderers. There are some murderers so heinous and so evil that removing them is the measure of the severity of their violation of the social contract. Williams qualifies.

Religious, artistic and academic elites that most vociferously oppose capital punishment are the least affected by violent crime. They invariably avoid discussion of the toll homicide takes on victims, their survivors and the communities hardest hit by murder — people of color and the poor. A black man in the United States is seven times more likely to be a victim of homicide than a white man.

So what makes Williams deserving of the extraordinary benefit of commutation? We are asked to believe that because he has coauthored some children's books he has "reformed." Yet he refuses to do what we morally and legally expect even from shoplifters: to express remorse for his actions. His true legacy may lie with his children. His namesake, Stanley Williams Jr., is doing time in another California prison for second-degree murder.

Williams claims he discourages kids from getting involved in gang life, yet a San Quentin official recently suggested that he still orchestrates gang activity outside the prison, according to an Associated Press story.

In his 2004 memoir, he refused to back off the code against "snitching," in which identifying a drive-by shooter is considered a worse sin than shooting a 4-year-old in the head with a Tech-9.
The clamor for Williams' clemency may persuade Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to dispense mercy to him, something Williams never gave Owens, the Yangs or any of the thousands of people the Crips have killed, maimed or terrorized.

But clemency for Williams will not advance serious discussion of the merits of capital punishment. Nor will it succeed in silencing the distant voices of the victims who never make the headlines except as a footnote to the saga of a gang lord adopted by the glitterati.

Williams' case recalls that of Norman Mailer and his friends, who "adopted" killer/writer Jack Henry Abbott. After Mailer and others secured his release from prison, Abbott stabbed and killed a young aspiring actor.

If his sentence is commuted, Williams will be an even shinier icon to the thugs who follow his example into violence and incarceration. He will roam in the general prison population, while his disciples stalk California's streets and malls.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times

December 1, 2005
Tookie's Tales

By Debra Saunders

Lies so pervade the campaign waged to "save" convicted killer Stanley Tookie Williams that Williams and company don't even bother to cover their tracks when they say things they know aren't true. 

So in an interview Monday with MSNBC's fatuous Rita Cosby, as Williams' Dec. 13 execution date looms and supporters are pressing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant him clemency, the death row inmate claimed that he was convicted by an "all-white jury." That's not true, and Williams knows it. 

In fact, Williams' own clemency lawyers have stipulated that the jury that convicted him in the 1979 murders of Albert Owens, Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang and Yee Chen Lin during two armed robberies was not all-white. In the clemency petition, Williams' latest set of lawyers argued that prosecutor Robert Martin had kicked all African Americans off the jury. When prosecutors produced a death certificate that showed that juror William McLurkin was black, the lawyers noted in a reply that it doesn't matter if McLurkin was black or part-black, because he "looked Filipino." 

Hello. That's not white. Williams' own Web site (www.tookie.com) features a fact sheet that, while asserting that no African Americans were on the jury, stipulates a Filipino and Latino served on the jury. 

Why did Williams say something that he knew wasn't true? I just figure he knew he could get away with it. In the MSNBC transcript of the Cosby interview, Williams, a co-founder of the Crips gang in South Central Los Angeles when a teenager, said, "I never ordered, nor have I initiated, any killings on my part, period." 

The not-guilty-of-murder quote flies in the face of the clemency petition's "atonement" claim. To wit: Williams "has accepted responsibility, repented and done whatever he could, from where he is, to atone." 

No: Williams has done whatever he could to seem to apologize, while dodging any consequences of admitting his crimes. Let me add a few things you may not know: The not-all-white jury convicted Williams after his alibi defense crumbled. Also, jurors had learned of Williams' plans for an armed escape from jail. The jury foreman testified that when the guilty verdict was announced, Williams mouthed this threat to the panel: "I'm going to get each and every one of you mother--." 

Over the years as he appealed his conviction, his appellate lawyers claimed that Williams did not receive adequate counsel because his trial lawyer did not use a diminished capacity defense, as Williams was brain-damaged -- due to drug abuse, mental illness and head injuries. 

An appellate judge weighed in, "A mental-state defense would have contradicted (the alibi) defense by conceding petitioner's presence at the scenes of the murders." Despite numerous appeals, various courts -- including the liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals -- continued to uphold his conviction. 

His lawyers now laud Williams because he "refuses to make a false confession, knowing it could benefit him penally, (which) shows the strength of his character." What then of his character on the brain-damage dodge -- an odd defense for a man whom supporters hail as a jailhouse philosopher and co-author of children's books? 

Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo told me he sees Williams' legacy as one of "death and violence" -- with more than 300 gang-related homicides in Los Angeles alone each year. "No matter how he tries to distance himself from violent gangs, he helped create them," Delgadillo noted. 

Crediting Williams for denouncing gangs is sort of like praising tobacco companies for their anti-smoking campaigns. Should Schwarzenegger grant clemency? Delgadillo said, "I think the justice system has done its job, and a jury of his peers found him guilty." (In plain talk: no clemency.) 

Williams' lawyers also say the clemency petition only asks for life without parole. That is technically true -- and entirely misleading, considering Williams' many claims to MSNBC's Cosby that he is "innocent," and that "being able to live, it would allow me to prove my innocence." That can only mean one thing: That after the execution is stayed, Williams will spend years filing more appeals. He won't be satisfied with a life behind bars. He wants out. 

Back in 2000, when Swiss legislator Mario Fehr nominated Williams for the Nobel Peace Prize, Fehr told me over the phone that Williams "might not even have killed those four people. I don't know what he did 20 years ago." Fehr, you see, wanted to send the message to young people "that no matter what mistakes you have made in your life, you can change for the better." 

The Tookie-philes are so filled with their own uplifting message that they are participating in a campaign to free a convicted killer. They can't really care that Williams gunned down four innocent people -- not when they are willing to embrace his lies, and abet a cold-blooded killer's bid to go free.
Copyright 2005 Creators Syndicate

December 9, 2012
By John Leo

“Tookie” Williams, put to death by lethal injection last week in California, was a “legend” who underwent “a meaningful martyrdom that sent a lasting message to the world,” according to old-time leftist Tom Hayden, formerly Mr. Jane Fonda.” Meaningful martyrdom”? What can Hayden be talking about? Martyrs die for a cause. Williams died for executing four unarmed people during two 1979 robberies, shooting a woman in the face, and laughing uncontrollably at the gurgling sounds a male victim made as he died in agony.

Opposing the death penalty, of course, means speaking out even for people like Williams. Still the campaign for him has been wretched excess. His book editor and friend Barbara Becnel, compared him to Rosa Parks. She plans a massive funeral as well as a memorial to him in South Africa. Several people nominated him for a Nobel Peace Prize (anybody can nominate anybody, by the way.) Because California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied clemency, Austrians took his name off the Arnold Schwarzenegger stadium near Graz, his hometown. A Christian political group suggested the stadium be named for Williams. In the U.S., all the usual suspects have been whipping up support and sympathy for Williams, including Jesse Jackson, Joan Baez, Susan Sarandon and Snoop Dogg.

So much attention to the murderer, almost none for those he killed. So let’s remember them here: Albert Owens, a veteran and father of two young girls, shot at a 7-11, and three member of an Asian-American family who ran the Brookhaven Motel-Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang and Yee-Chen Lin. In a rare bit of commentary, William John Hagan of Canada Free Press wrote:” The mainstream media has ignored the realities of the Williams case in order to promote an anti-death-penalty agenda. To present this mass murderer as a martyr is an insult to victims everywhere.”

Hayden said Williams was “railroaded,” another fantasy.  In the Owens killing, two accomplices said he did the shooting. In the motel case, Williams was picked up ten minutes after the shooting of the three member of the Yang family. Shotgun shells at the motel were traced to a shotgun William purchased in 1974. Williams was living with a couple, who testified that he told them details of the three murders that only the killer would know. They gave police the shotgun and said Williams kept it under his bed.

One man said Williams had bragged about killing three people who lived on Vermont Street-the location of the motel. The witness later said his testimony was coerced, but a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected that claim. A fellow inmate at Los Angeles County Jail testified that Williams drew up an elaborate escape plan, which involved blowing up a van carrying prisoners from jail to court and killing guards and inmates. Handwritten notes by Williams, which featured his habit of using stars to dot his I’s, corroborated the story of the plan. The fellow inmate also testified that Williams had admitted the motel murders.

Williams has been riding the death-row celebrity train for some time. Jamie Foxx made a TV movie about him “Redemption,” referring to his decision to write children’s books warning against the gang life. But the death row killer who writes high-minded books to promote clemency is not a new phenomenon.  In his column, Hagan discusses Williams’s checkered career in prison, including two instances of throwing chemicals in the eyes of guards. In denying clemency, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed out that Williams had never apologized for the murders, or even admitted committing them. A farewell message from Williams contained the lyrics of “Strange Fruit,” an anti-lynching song. So the unapologetic killer apparently had no clue about how he reached death row.  

The media keep converting killers into celebrities deserving of our sympathy. Gary Gilmore, a Utah murderer, was the subject of an enormous book by Norman Mailer, and the ACLU furiously pursued his cause even after Gilmore said he wanted to die. Mailer turned the killer Jack Henry Abbott into a radical chic celeb and a sought-after Manhattan dinner guest once Mailer and other prominent folk helped get him paroled. He grew suddenly less popular when he killed again, knifing a waiter to death. Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted cop-killer, is a big name on the left, enlisted to speak on National Public Radio (at least until the protests got too loud) and invited to give major talks, including commencement addresses at two colleges. Now add Williams to the list-the Rosa Parks and Nobel candidate of unrepentant killers.

Misplaced sympathy for killers

(First of two parts)

STANLEY ''TOOKIE" Williams is scheduled to die by lethal injection in California's San Quentin prison next Tuesday. His death will occur nearly 27 years after he brutally murdered Albert Owens, a 7-Eleven clerk in Whittier, Calif., and three members of the Yang family -- Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang, and their daughter, Yee-Chen Lin -- at the Brookhaven Motel in Los Angeles.

Unlike the peaceful, painless demise awaiting Williams, the deaths of his victims were horrific: He shot each of them at close range with a 12-gauge shotgun, shattering their bodies so that they died in agony. Their suffering amused him. ''You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him," Williams bragged after killing Albert Owens. According to the district attorney's summary of the evidence, ''Williams then made gurgling or growling noises and laughed hysterically about Owens's death."

As cofounder of the deadly Crips street gang in 1971, Williams's criminal legacy goes well beyond the four murders for which he was convicted. The gang violence he unleashed 34 years ago has destroyed thousands of lives and left countless other victims scarred by rape, assault, and armed robbery. Though he now claims to have reformed and has written books with an antigang message, he has never admitted his guilt or expressed any remorse for the slaughter of Albert Owens and the Yang family. If his supposed contrition amounts to anything more than lip service, he has yet to prove it. Williams adamantly refuses to be debriefed by police about the Crips and their operations or to provide any information that could help bring other killers to justice. In fact, officials at San Quentin have said he continues to orchestrate gang activity from behind bars.

Incredibly, this thug is the object of the left's latest craze. For many anti-death penalty fundamentalists, it is not enough to oppose the execution of a savage killer -- the killer must be extolled as a noble soul whose death would be a loss for humanity. Thus Hollywood has honored Williams with a made-for-TV movie. The media have weighed in with sympathetic stories. A slew of celebrities, including such moral giants as Tom Hayden and Snoop Dogg, are clamoring for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant clemency and spare Williams's life. And all but forgotten amid this orgy of adulation are the victims Williams so cruelly murdered nearly three decades ago.

What is it that makes victims so easy to forget? When Kenneth Boyd was executed in North Carolina last week, it was reported everywhere that he was the 1,000th murderer to be put to death since the resumption of capital punishment in 1976. But how many stories devoted more than a passing mention to the two people Boyd sent to early graves -- his estranged wife, Julie Curry Boyd, and her father, Thomas Curry? Why doesn't the media's round-number fetish extend to the victims of homicide as well as the perpetrators? If the 1,000th execution made headlines, why didn't the 1,000th murder? Or the 10,000th? Or the 100,000th?

Actually there have been close to 600,000 homicides in the United States since 1976, and the total climbs by roughly 15,000 each year. Where is the uproar over those round numbers? Where are the protests, the petitions, the Hollywood rallies aimed at stopping those deaths? I understand that some people think capital punishment is wrong as a matter of principle. What I cannot understand is how anyone can be more outraged by the lawful execution each year of a few dozen murderers than by the annual slaughter of thousands of victims at the hands of such murderers.

Opponents of capital punishment make much of the theoretical possibility that an innocent defendant might be killed. What they never acknowledge is that the abolition of capital punishment guarantees that innocent victims will die. That isn't only because executing murderers has a powerful deterrent effect, as a number of recent studies confirm. It is also because prison bars can't keep some killers from killing again.

In its latest roundup of death penalty statistics, ''Capital Punishment, 2004," the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics notes that at least 101 murderers now on death row were already in prison when they murdered their victims; at least 44 others were prison escapees. Lock-'em-up-and-throw-away-the-key may sound appealing. But some murderers will always escape and murder again. Others will kill in prison.

Ultimately, the case for putting murderers like Williams and Boyd to death isn't just a practical one, strong though the practical arguments are. It is also a moral one. When the state executes a murderer, it is making a statement about the demands of justice and the sanctity of human life -- a statement as old as Genesis, and as essential as ever.
Next: The bishops and the death penalty.
Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.

Death-row celebrity has direct link to this city's ills
December 10, 2005|By GREGORY KANE

Stanley "Tookie" Williams sits on California's death row awaiting his execution Tuesday. Does his plight have a connection with Baltimore?

Oh, you betcha.

Williams is a co-founder of the Crips gang. In 1981, Williams was found guilty of murdering Albert Owens during the robbery of a 7-Eleven in the Los Angeles area. Three other men joined Williams in the robbery. One testified against him at his trial.

In the same trial, Williams was found guilty of murdering Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Chen and Yu-Chin Yang Lin in a motel robbery. All four murders occurred in 1979.

Since his imprisonment on death row, Williams has become a cause celebre among blacks in the entertainment world who don't know any better. How else can we explain rapper Snoop Dogg proudly proclaiming before television cameras that Williams is "our Martin Luther King"? That might hold up as the "Negro, please" moment of the 21st century.

Liberal Hollywood types have jumped on the Williams-is-a-hero bandwagon. There has been a movie about him. (Not one movie yet about his victims.) His supporters claim that because he has written a series of children's books advising youngsters not to get involved with gangs, Williams is now "redeemed" and worthy of clemency.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger heard lawyers for Williams argue his clemency case Thursday. What Schwarzenegger should take into account when he considers clemency for Williams is how sincere "Tookie's" claims of "redemption" are. Judging from comments Williams made to CBS news correspondent Ed Bradley on a 2004 segment of 60 Minutes, the co-founder of the Crips is still a gangbanger.

The issue here is "debriefing." That's the term prison officials use for gang members who claim they've given up the life. Once they do, prison honchos demand that they tell everything they know about the criminal activities of their former cohorts.

Williams - Mr. Anti-Gang, Mr. "I've Been Redeemed" - has refused to be debriefed.

"I have to say that the word `debriefing' is a euphemistic term for snitching," Williams said. "And my convictions won't allow that."

So he still clings to the gang-banger's code of not snitching. That doesn't sound like "redemption" to me. That sounds like Williams has been conning a lot of people for a lot of years.

And it sounds like Williams' "don't be a snitch" convictions have reached the streets of Baltimore.

Remember our town's infamous Stop Snitching DVD? Those guys brandishing the guns, talking about the criminal life and what they would do to those "snitches" who cut deals with police and finger other criminals? Baltimore's frighteningly high homicide count can be directly traced to this tortured principle of "no snitching."

It's a principle Williams warmly embraces, one that has led to an entire cottage industry devoted to "stop snitching." There are not only the DVDs, but "stop snitching" T-shirts and caps.
Rap songs talk despairingly of "snitches" and proudly of criminals. Some magazines devoted to rap music do the same. Even lawyers arguing for Williams' clemency have gotten in on the "anti-snitch" craze.

Responding to prosecutors who said Williams' startling admission that snitching would violate his convictions proves he's not worthy of clemency, Williams' lawyers wrote in their brief that "the District Attorney also claims the absence of personal redemption because Stanley Williams will not compromise his personal convictions by submitting to `debriefing.' The District Attorney demands that Stanley Williams prove his personal redemption by assuming the role of `informant' which, in a free society, only the police and prosecutor treat as an act of honor."

Did y'all get that? According to Tookie's lawyers, Williams is the honorable one in this situation. Those same lawyers not very subtly implied that police beat false testimony out of one witness who testified against Williams and all but accused prosecutors of suborning perjury during his trial. They've questioned the integrity of everybody involved in the trial of Stanley "Tookie" Williams except Stanley "Tookie" Williams.

According to his lawyers, Williams is the only one who has told the truth about the four murders. Williams is the only one whose integrity is beyond reproach. Williams is the only one who has acted with honor.

Yes, and Santy Clause will indeed be coming to town in 15 days.

This is a case of the values of decent folks being turned upside down and the values of criminals being shoved in their place. If Williams is indeed "redeemed," then it's not a matter of "snitching." It's a matter of confessing. As in confessing sins.

There will be no confessions from Williams - just two terse sentences about his convictions against snitching that have undone all the words in his anti-gang books and cast doubt on his claims of redemption. What Williams is really teaching the youth of America is that it's honorable to dummy up when they have knowledge of a crime.

If he's executed, is that really the legacy Williams wants to take to his grave?

Let Tookie Williams Die
By: Ben Johnson
Thursday, December 01, 2005

Save Tookie Williams...a seat in the gas chamber.

TOOKIE WILLIAMS WROTE JUVENILE LITERATURE SO INSPIRING, IT’S A PITY HIS VICTIMS NEVER GOT TO READ IT TO THEIR CHILDREN. Last night, the California State Supreme Court refused to grant a stay of execution to convicted murderer and co-founder of the deadly street gang the Crips, Stanley “Tookie” Williams Sr. Short of a governor’s pardon, Tookie will (finally) die by lethal injection in San Quentin on December 13 for the brutal murder of four people in 1979. A group of Hollywood’s limousine “liberals,” radical leftists, and Farrakhanites now urge Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (whom they otherwise despise) to grant clemency – and he has granted them a private hearing next week to discuss the matter. We wish he’d instead offer them front row seats to the blessed event. 

Tookie Williams founded the Crips in 1971, eight years before he and three other men went on a murder-and-robbery spree that netted approximately $250 and left four people dead. The murders were notably gratuitous. Albert Owens – the clerk in Whittier, California – lay prostrate on the floor of a back room as Williams shot him twice in the back. Williams told one of the three men who went along on the job he killed Owens because he didn’t want any witnesses to identify him and “because he was white and he was killing all white people.” He then robbed the Brookhaven Motel, in the process murdering an elderly Chinese couple and their daughter (whom he referred to as “Buddhaheads”). Tookie killed all his victims with a 12-gauge shotgun, which he held inches from their quivering bodies before pulling the trigger to inflict maximum damage.

Clemency was not Williams’ first option: escape was. Within weeks of his capture, he devised a plan; he would have two accomplices meet the van that transported the quartet from prison to the courthouse. They would kill the two deputies on board, and Williams would kill the one prisoner who could act as a witness against him in the Owens murder. The survivors would then dynamite the van, so authorities would not immediately know who escaped. Williams went on to plot subsequent escapes, assault prison guards, and order gangland murders from behind bars. His violence and intransigence got him six years in solitary confinement.

After the escape plans fizzled, he exploited California’s leftist judicial establishment to the fullest, but the evidence against him was so overwhelming even the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could not overturn his conviction.

In the last 11 years, Tookie got smart and embarked on a massive PR campaign to portray himself as a “redeemed” former gang member, writing children’s books against the gang mentality. In the process, he became the Left’s latest noble savage. Nearly 20 years after being sentenced to murder, Tookie got to meet Winnie Mandela, Louis Farrakhan, and other VIPs; last Monday, Jesse Jackson and Bianca Jagger dropped by the cellblock. Williams was nominated for the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize. (The committee rejected him, either because he did not sufficiently criticize U.S. foreign policy or because he had not killed enough people to qualify.)

Williams’ purported chrysalis convinced Tinseltown’s Mumia Abu Jamal groupies to beg his clemency: Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Mike Farrell, former Crip Snoop Doggy Dogg, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Jamie Foxx, and Bonnie Raitt – not to mention such washed-up ‘80s leftists as Desmond Tutu, Mario Cuomo, and Jesse Jackson – have asked that his sentence be commuted. Sixties radical Tom Hayden has vouched for Tookie’s “transformation,” although admitting Tookie Williams’ supposed change of heart “is not the primary cause of [gang] truces.” (Emphasis in original.)

At a “Save the Peacemaker” rally last weekend, Nation of Islam Western Regional Minister Tony Muhammad (standing in for grand mullah Louis Farrakhan himself) said the United States murdered millions of Indians, which makes it the real criminal:

This government needs clemency from God itself. Our president needs clemency; a president who has murdered tens of thousands on foreign soil. He needs to show that he is a redeemed man, and even in that act, President Bush can call for the clemency of Stan “Tookie” Williams.

He then told Gov. Schwarzenegger, “If you execute, you destroy the hopes of hundreds of young men and women who have gotten involved in gang culture.”

Despite his alleged turnaround, prison officials state Williams is still involved with the Crips, directing action from his jail cell for the past eleven years. San Quentin spokesman Vernell Crittendon notes Tookie still maintains an “unusually large bank account,” being mailed checks 50 or 100 times larger than those other inmates (like Scott Peterson) receive. Not only has he never admitted guilt in the murder – much less expressed any remorse – and continues to consort with Crips in prison.

And he’s never helped the one force that could effectively stop the Crips: the Los Angeles Police Department. Tookie Williams has revealed nothing about the personnel, practices, or operational structure of the gang he co-founded. In his writings, he boasts he “underwent many years of soul-searching and re-education, without ‘debriefing’ (another word for ‘snitching’).” Snitching, he says, would “rip my dignity out of my chest” – an unfortunate image for a man who shot (at least) four people through the torso at close range.

Tookie’s good example failed to rub off on those closest to him. The California penal system seems to be holding a Williams family reunion. His son, Stanley “Little Tookie” Williams Jr., serves alongside him in San Quentin, convicted on a 16-year sentence for second-degree murder of a 20-year-old woman. Another son, registered sex offender Lafayette Jones, is now wanted by Fontana, California, police for allegedly molesting an ex-girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter at gunpoint, holding the child captive for six hours on the afternoon of on November 13.

Based on all this and more, L.A.’s top police officials have petitioned Schwarzenegger to reject clemency appeals.

Allowing Tookie Williams to receive the death sentence 24 years after it was imposed by a jury of his peers is not an outrage; the outrage is that thousands of Americans were conned into lavishing sympathy on this murderer instead of his victims and their families, that a street thug who’s learned to manipulate the Left enjoys glowing press coverage, a positive biopic, warm personal relations with Hollywood’s elite, and an honored position in the Crips. (And the New York Times probably considers even this cruel and unusual punishment.)

Opponents of the death penalty say a death sentence will keep Tookie from completing “all the good work” he began in prison. This is part of the exchange when one commits certain heinous crimes: he forfeits the right even to do good works – just as he denied his four victims the right to write children’s books, design socially constructive grade school curricula, or encourage people to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” His good works – if there are any – will be continued by good people, the kind who don’t end up on death row for carrying out repeated executions.

The Left claims the death penalty is no deterrent but Tookie’s “powerful story of redemption” is, showing children they, too, could wind up incarcerated. If his incarceration serves as a deterrent against gang violence, his death will make a more “powerful” tale yet. If it doesn’t, his execution will not interfere with that. Either way, weakness and surrender are never a deterrent – to totalitarians, terrorists, or common street thugs. 

I’m not a father confessor, but I’m fairly certain of this moral arithmetic: Writing children’s books is not an appropriate penance for killing an entire family in as bloody a way as possible, dedicating his entire life to a ruthless pursuit of violence, and founding an organization that has trapped generations of inner city youths into the same destructive cycle. Whether Tookie Williams has achieved “redemption” is not a concern of the state – as the idolatrous, secular Left would have it (“immanentizing the eschaton” as William F. Buckley Jr. called it) – it is a matter to be decided when Stanley Williams Sr. stands before a Higher Authority. Which meeting should arranged with all speed.

Ben Johnson is Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine and co-author, with David Horowitz, of the book Party of Defeat. He is also the author of the books Teresa Heinz Kerry's Radical Gifts (2009) and 57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving (2004).

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