Convicted murderer Stanley “Tookie” Williams, the co-founder of the violent Crips gang who is on Death Row in California, is Hollyweird’s current cause celebre. He is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 13 after 24 years of legal wrangling. The San Francisco Chronicle reports today that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to hold a clemency hearing Dec. 8.
Among the Save Tookie brigades: Snoop Dogg, Bianca Jagger, Jesse Jackson, Margaret Cho, Mike Farrell, Jason Alexander, Laurence Fishburne, Danny Glover, Anjelica Huston, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, and Noah Wyle.
I wrote about Williams’ bleeding-heart worshipers back in 2000, when he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize:
San Quentin prison officials report that juvenile delinquents idolize Williams. His propaganda has been endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus. As part of an ongoing public relations campaign to soften his image while he ties up the courts with specious legal appeals, Williams has been profiled sympathetically by People magazine, Time, the Los Angeles Times, and the ethnic press. He even appeared on a TV special introduced by President Clinton. Barbara Becnel, a crusading journalist who “edits” Williams’ writings, once gushed that if the death-row inmate had “been raised in Brentwood instead of South Central, he’d be head of the state Democratic party.”
Williams’ groupies would have us believe that their Nobel Peace Prize nominee is a helpless victim of his environment, addled by low self-esteem, forced to turn to violence by racist oppressors, and now apologetic “for the atrocities which I and others committed against our race through gang violence.” Spare us the sob story. Here are the cold-blooded facts missing from Williams’ Nobel Peace Prize application:
Williams was convicted of murdering four innocent bystanders with a sawed-off shotgun in 1979. There was nothing peaceful or compassionate about the way [Albert Owens], Thsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang and Yee Chen Lin died. Owen[s] was a white teen-age clerk at a 7-11 convenience store, shot twice in the back of the head — execution-style — as he lay unarmed on the floor during a hold-up. A witness testified that Williams mocked the gurgling sounds Owen[s] made as he lay dying. “You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him,” the witness quoted Williams.
The Yangs were Taiwanese immigrants who, along with their daughter Yee Chen Lin, were gunned down during a motel robbery two weeks after Owen[s] died. Half of the daughter’s face was blown off by the shotgun blasts, former L.A. County Deputy District Attorney Robert Martin told me in an interview this week. Williams called them “Buddhaheads,” Martin recounted, and robbed them of petty cash.
Williams has yet to apologize to the victims’ families. When the trial ended, Martin told me, Williams muttered to the prosecution team, “I’ll get every one of you m—–f—–s.”
Spoken like a Nobel laureate.
Tookie Williams was sentenced to die for these brutal crimes in 1981. But at the end of this year, he will have celebrated 19 more Thanksgivings, 19 more Christmases, and 19 more birthdays. That’s 6,935 days more than [Albert Owens], Thsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang and Yee Chen Lin were allowed to enjoy on this earth…
Wayne Owens, Albert’s brother, speaks out here.
Rebecca Owens, Albert’s daughter, weighs in here.
Lora Owens, Albert’s stepmother, writes:
My name is Lora Owens. I am the stepmother of Albert Lewis Owens. My husband, Albert’s father, has died so I also speak for him since we discussed this letter frequently over the years. I am writing you concerning clemency for Stanley “Tookie” Williams who murdered Albert in 1979 by shooting him twice in the back. Within seconds, though Albert pleaded for his life, Williams chose to become the judge, jury and executioner of Albert, then laughed as he lay dying. In 1981, Williams was tried, convicted and sentenced to death for the murders he committed in cold blood. Now the many, many years of appeals have also been denied and the facts remain steadfast and the verdict remains firm.
Now that the appeals have been denied, Williams has decided on a new tactic. A female friend has entered his life who happens to be a journalist who wants to write children’s books against gangs. Since the defense of brain damage in his appeals did not gain him anything, Williams decided to become an articulate author denouncing gang activity. He doesn’t assist the authorities in stopping gang activity by “debriefing” however, but concentrates on teaching primary school age children the “walk and talk” of gang life. This he claims will deter them from joining a gang.
The Nobel Peace Prize nominations, from the first to the last, have been made by activists who see an opportunity to further their personal cause.The first was quoted to have made the nomination to “raise the awareness of the death penalty to a higher degree”. Totally nothing to do with Williams and whether he deserved the recognition but for a political agenda.
This has been true of each nomination since.
They have quoted that it doesn’t matter what he has done in the past but what he is doing now.
I contend that he is not doing anything now to warrant any type of award and it definitely does matter what he has done in the past. It would matter to anyone whose child is dying in a pool of blood because Williams had the loaded gun and chose to shoot- not in self defense-but shot innocent, unarmed victims simply bcause he could.
John and Ken of KFI-AM talk radio in Los Angeles are following the latest twists and turns.
Debra J. Saunders, who has followed the case for years, debunks the Tookie sympathizers’ mythology:
The whole “redemption” line is a joke. As Williams’ former prosecutor Robert Martin once told me, redemption requires an admission of guilt, facing up to what you did and expressing remorse. Williams has done none of the above, yet newspaper editorial pages (including The Chronicle’s) and various do-gooders (including some Ninth U.S. Court of Appeals judges) have been pushing for the governor to grant Tookie clemency.
That would turn the whole concept of clemency on its ear.
Let me stipulate: While I support the death penalty, I can respect those who oppose it. But I can’t respect those who lionize the most violent thugs as if they are prize sages. My advice to the anti-execution crowd — and I have no doubt it will be ignored — is to find some poor schlub who killed in a panic and doesn’t belong on death row, and seek clemency for that person.
Don’t put a cold-blooded killer on a pedestal. Don’t denounce a government killing as barbaric while you laud a cold-blooded thug. And don’t ask for clemency for a killer who won’t fess up to his crimes.
Williams’ co-author, Barbara Becnel, told the Los Angeles Times, “What Stan presents is hope that they, too, can change. He is worth far more to society alive than dead.”
Wrong. He is worth more to society dead. The message from the Tookie-philes is that you can kill innocent people and be a star. An execution says you can kill innocent people and pay the price.
Which message will Gov. Schwarzenegger send?
Update: Send a message to the Tookie worshipers. Nominate Patterico for a Nobel Peace Prize!