T Nation

The Fate of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams


#1

I was more than a little surprised to not see a single post on this topic, so I thought I would start it up. The more I read about this story, the more frustrated I feel.

The basics: Stan "Tookie" Williams was a founding member of the LA street gang the Crips back in 1971 at the age of 17. He was convicted in the 1979 shotgun murders of 4 people - 63 year old Tsai-Shen Yang, her husband Yen-Yi Yang, 67, and daughter Ye-Chen Lin, 43, during the robbery of a motel they owned.

He was also convicted of murdering 7-11 store clerl Albert Owens, 19, during a robbery where he apparently mocked the gurgling sounds made by Owens as he lay face down on the ground dying after an execution-style shotgun blast to the back of his head.

Fast-forward to today. Tookie has written some children's books and has made a lot of statements about changing his ways, working to end gang violence, etc. Was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Jamie Foxx starred in a movie about his life.

Williams has exhausted all of his legal remedies after the California Supreme Court rejected his appeal to overturn his death sentence and all that's left now is for Governor Schwarzenegger to provide clemency.

You now have this being the Hollywood celebrity cause du jour with all sorts of protests that Tookie has changed his life, he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, etc.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10283433/

Seemingly forgotten in all of this is that Tookie refuses to say he did it or express any remose - even though there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to show he did it.
http://da.co.la.ca.us/pdf/swilliams.pdf

He has refused to cooperate with authorities about any of his past gang activities since he does not want to be a "snitch" (and there is some suspicion that he may even still be involved in running gang operations from prison).

Also seemingly forgotten in all of this are the victims of the crime as well (which always seems to happen). I have a link that takes you to crime scene photos, but I did not really want to post it since they are more than a little troubling.

So here's what I am wondering and would like to hear people thoughts on:

In a death sentence case, should it matter at all what the convicted murderer has done with his or her life after their conviction? Should it matter if Williams has written children's books and is working towards ending gang violence?

Should that be taken into account at all for either court decisions or even the clemency decisions of a governor?

The hard thing about this case (for me) is that I'm actually against the death penalty. I just have never believed it actually does any good and serves more to satisfy our blood lust for vengeance when a horrible crime occurs. It never brings back the deceased loved ones. It never fixes anything.

In addition, given the fact that it always seems to be disproportionately applied to minorities for similar crimes to whites, I'm more than a little suspicious.

Anyway, just wanted to be honest that I feel more than a little conflicted on this one. I really don't support the death penalty, but at the same time, if there were a case for it, it seems like this is one.

Thoughts?


#2

I don't think he should be able to escape the death penalty no matter what he does after the fact.

I also don't think the death penalty should cost as much money as it does. I heard that it can cost more than keeping someone in prison due to all the appeals they're allowed and how much it gets dragged out.

Our government is so HYPOCRITICAL in this aspect.

They claim to care so much about a human life that they waste so many resources going through the process of the death penalty for convicted murderers, rapists...

yet it's okay to shoot-to-kill when someone steals a large amount of money (no price on a human life my ass), or allow thousands of innocent people (on all sides) to die in wars based on politics and greed.


#3

I don't support a death penalty at all.


#4

I read about this earlier in the week. It's prety disturbing when someone can manipulate the legal system and be edified in the process.

The punishment is for the crimes he commited and was convicted of, not for what he did after being convicted.

From what I understand about his nomination for a Nobel peace prize, that was a maneuver by a politician who was realy just thumping his own drum, and further diminishes the value of the Nobel. Similar to giving Yassir Arrafat one for agreeing to quit killing people.

We shouldn't give prizes or grant clemency just because people decide- no matter how severly punished- to quit killing people. To me that would be equivilent to promoting murder by rewarding someone for stopping.

The guy is a thug that murdered people and his legacy continues to wreak havoc and voilence, not Sir Thomas Moore.

p.s. On a personal note and to buffer any Ivory Tower "you don't know shit" comments- I used to sell and use drugs. That doesn't sit well with me. To make amends I spend a lot of time each week helping others to recover from addiction, and in the process helping myself.

I don't expect any pats on the back. Doing something good is its own reward. It's not that I don't believe that people can change, but I do believe that there is no way to make amends for cold blooded armed robbery and murder.


#5

I don't necessarily think the death penalty is useful, there are some evil people out there for sure but they aren't deterred by the death penalty. Death seems almost too good for them.

The fact that Tookie has been able to publish children's books, get nominated for a Nobel Prize, and have enough contact with the outside world to work towards ending gang violence is what really pisses me off.

The guy (and other murdering criminals) should be in a hole in the ground so deep they can never see daylight. Prison should be a punishment, not an opportunity for them to become quasi celebrities.

If you are serving a life sentence, you should never be heard from again. Criminals deserve the full due process of the law, but once the life sentence is handed down, they should disapear.

One man's opinion, what say you?


#6

Without turning this into a debate over the death penalty, given that it is the law of the land, he should be put to death. I live in SoCal so I hear about this case all day long. All I can say is that its disgusting how this man has been turned into some sort of hero.

The claim he has saved 200,000 kids from gang life is absurd. The claim is supposedly supported by e-mail and letters but no one has offered up any proof and when "tookie's" co-author was asked to provide proof in an interview, she refused outright. Now, why in god's name, if she has proof, whould she not show it?

In fact, I recently heard that his best selling book sold a whopping...300 copies! How many kids could that have possibly helped (as if that changes the fact he murdered four innocent people)? If anyone wants a good laugh, get your hands on a copy and read it for yourself. How this guy got nominated for a Nobel Prize for literature is beyond me.

He, and his group of supporters, are nothing but a bunch of liers.

If nothing else, this case illustrates one major flaw with the death penalty. If he had been sentenced to life instead of death, we would never had heard his name again; "tookie" would have been forgotten. Instead, he has been turned into a celebrity.


#7

Did he or did he NOT kill an innocent man, a woman and their daughter?

Death to Tookie


#8

Great hit-and-run statement. Much easier than actually thinking and having to offer something intelligent.

First of all, screw monetary arguments. I know the anti-death penalty gangs like to point out how expensive the death penalty is, but that is simply because states like Kalifornia allow death sentences to be appealed ad nauseum on the taxpayers dime. The pro-murderer wimps are the ones who make it so expensive in the first place.

Second, we can argue about the death penalty's effect in deterring crime all we want. Perhaps that is not really the point. Maybe, a small percentage of humanity cannot live by the rules of decency that the rest of us manage to abide by. For whatever reason, they CHOOSE to engage in incredible acts of brutality and depravity.

The death penalty functions as a civilized society's ultimate act of self-preservation...remove the most heinous thugs from our ranks.

I am not in any way a bloodthirsty man.
The employment of the death penalty should be reserved for cases of extreme indifference to life. Then, we should exhaust reasonable measures to insure we have convicted and sentenced the right person. After that, send them to their judgement in the afterlife.

This redundant strategy the liberal rats have devised...stall the death sentence 20 years while trying to re-invent their murderous icon...is disgusting.


#9

I agree with some of the above, that people like this should just go away and be nobody forever instead of becoming celebrities or martyrs. Then again, I have absolutely no problem with the death penalty, and I really don't care wether or not it deters other criminals. I don't think it is any more or less a deterrent than "life in prison", but the term is "Capital Punishment" not "Capital Detterence".

The only way the death penalty would be considered a deterrent is if it were carried out in public, and it was some horrific biblical style death - stoning, crucifixion, quartering, etc. Even shooting would be quick and cheap, but still possibly graphic enough to get attention.

None of those are defensible positions today though, so I say the jury's verdict should stand and Tookie should get what he's got coming to him. If he's really turned his life around, then more power to him, I hope he can go to his grave realizing the gravity of his crimes.

As for his Nobel nomination, he can stand along with illustrious names like Mussolini, Hitler, and Arafat. Congratulations.


#10

He should be killed.

He should already be dead.

I will sleep fine tonight.


#11

The man is murdering scum.

Anyone that stands up for him probably has a screw loose.

I have my own issues with the death penalty, but if we are going to have it he should get it.


#12

Founder of the most popular street gang saving anybody from gang life ... LMAO! Hang him high.


#13

The great State of Texas loves the death penalty so much - we put in an express lane.

I have no problem with the death penalty. But I do think that with the improvement in ID technology, DNA matching should be required before the case can be considered a capital offense unless you have two or more eyewitnesses that can identify the defendant.


#14

Too bad you only showed one side of the story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10252436/

And in case you didn't know what he looked like when he was convicted, here's a picture: http://img.iskon.hr/kl/2005/03/25/0002003v.jpg

Fits the bill nicely, huh? Muscular young black member, gang founder... of course he must be guilty.


#15

Even he doesn't question his own guilt.
Not everything is racially motivated young nopal.
He killed. There is no doubt he killed. The penalty in place is death.
So it is written
So it be done.

Now go back to your self promoting, self-aggrandizing post about how you're smarter than most of the 'white' race.


#16

Ahahahaha.


#17

Oh, that's right, what were the cops thinking? If he is black, then he is the one who is the victim here, not the people he murdered in cold blood.


#18

Are you fucking kidding me? He killed 4 people for no reason, and made fun of the gurgling sounds coming from one of the victims. I really don't think color comes into play.

As for the Nobel Peace Prize bullshit - Yassir Arafat won one, and he was nothing more than a murderous thug. I don't think being nominated for a Nobel prize should excuse a murderous piece of shit from the punishment that a jury has determined that he face.

But it's all about skin color.


#19

My point was that it's possible that he really is innocent for those murders... though as he admits, not for other things. Please read the links next time.


#20

First post on the T-Nation, thought I'd throw my two cents in...
On the subject of whether or not the death penalty is a deterrant, I'd have to say that after the potasium chloride hits his heart, he's going to be pretty damn well deterred from murdering anyone else.

As far as deterring other people, I agree with the earlier post that mentioned public executions, preferably on the town square and then piped into high schools so that young would-be-criminals can see what happens.
Keep in mind, this is the first generation of civilization that has not actively used the death penalty for murderers.

I submit into evidence the cases of Carlie Brucia and Jessica Lunsford (first two that came to mind)as demonstrations of where this "more civilized" attitude toward punishment is taking us.
But, thats just my two cents.