December 1, 2005
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
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.
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."
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
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."
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."
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--."
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
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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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."
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.
2005 Creators Syndicate