Stanley Tookie Williams III was the co-founder of the Crips, with its roots in South Central Los Angeles in 1971. In 1979 he was convicted of four murders committed during the course of robberies, and he remained in prison for the rest of his life. Later on in his life, he became an author of twelve books, including anti-gang and violence literature and children’s books. Williams apparently rebuffed the police in their efforts to investigate his gang, and was implicated in several attacks on guards and women, as well as multiple escape plots.In 1993, Williams began making changes in his behavior, and became an anti-gang activist while on death row in California. He relinquished his relationship with the gang and apologized for his role in the creation of the Crips.
He also participated in efforts he envisioned to prevent youths from joining gangs. A biographical movie entitled Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story was made in 2004, and featured Jamie Foxx as Williams. (Slambrouck, 2000)In the film, Williams is portrayed as quite remorseful for his actions, without much reference to the crimes he committed that put him in prison, only that he regrets the actions that placed him into solitary confinement for such a long period of time. It is difficult to understand why he is on death row when the film makes very little reference to the actions for which he was sentenced to death, even making the viewer somewhat sympathetic to Williams’s plight when there is no backstory. When he meets Barbara Bercel, he is at a turning point in his life in which he is desperate to be removed from both solitary confinement and death row.His efforts to change the direction of youths and gang involvement are genuine, but it seems as though much of his work is somewhat self-centered. His nomination for the Nobel Peace prize is a nod to his improved morals, but comes across as too little too late. With a little investigation, it is quite obvious that Williams was not a respectable individual before he was sent to prison.
He was convicted in 1979 of four counts of felony murder (robbery), as well as another multiple murder in a separate case.A jury convicted him of robbery in both cases, and found that he personally used a firearm in the commission of the crimes. The jury recommended the death penalty for the murders, and the judge accepted the recommendation and sentenced him to death. (People v. Williams, 1988) Williams maintained his innocence throughout the process, claiming there were no eyewitnesses, insufficient evidence, and that his weapon did not match the one used during the robberies.
A firearms expert from the prosecution displayed that without a doubt, the shotgun and ammunition used by Williams was used during the crimes.In many cases, the death penalty is warranted only for the most severe cases, but when it is used, most defendants can have the verdict overturned during the lengthy appeals process. Had Williams been more straightforward during his trial and appeals process, and taken the responsibility of his guilt, the chance of being granted clemency from the Governor may have been greater.
It is shown that when a defendant pleads guilty and shows remorse, the courts tend to show a bit more leniency in terms of the severity of sentencing.While Williams had changed for the better during his time in prison, the fact that he never admitted guilt in any part of the planning or participation in any of the crimes he committed did not do anything to aid his appeals process. In the hours before his death, Stanley spoke to a radio station about where his life had led him, and what his work had meant to him and his hope for others in the future: “And whether others choose to believe that I have redeemed myself or not, I worry not, because I know and God knows, and you can believe that all of the youths that I continue to help, they know, too. So with that, I am grateful…I say to you and everyone else, God bless.
So take care. “(Democracy Now! The World Peace Report, 2005) Stanley “Tookie” Williams III was executed on December 13, 2005. People v. Williams, 44 C3d 1127 (California Supreme Court April 11, 1988). Democracy Now! The World Peace Report. (2005, December 13).
Retrieved December 5 2010, from Stanley Tookie Williams: I Want the World to Remember Me for My “Redemptive Transition”: http://www. democracynow. org/2005/12/13/stanley_tookie_williams_i_want_the Slambrouck, P. V. (2000, November 28).
On Death Row, an Author and Nobel Nominee. The Christian Science Monitor, p. 1.