Twenty-six years after the killings and 24 years after his conviction, Stanley Tookie Williams has been executed in California.
He was pronounced dead in the San Quentin State Prison death chamber shortly after 12:30 this morning Pacific time.
Williams was 51. He was a co-founder of the notorious Crips gang in the 70's. But his apparent conversion to good work in prison had made him a celebrity and his case stirred a national debate over capital punishment and the possibility of redemption.
Activists on both sides of the issue held vigils outside San Quentin last night. Opponents called execution "state-sponsored murder." Other people said they were there to honor the memory Williams' victims.
The U-S Supreme Court and California Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger rejected final efforts by his lawyers to stop the
execution. Schwarzenegger detailed the horror of the killings and Williams' lack of remorse.
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