Just a little note to say that I’ll be featured in tonight’s Celebrity Crime Files on TVOne. The episode looks at the life and execution of Stanley “Tookie” Williams. The show is supposed to air at 7 p.m. on the West Coast and 10 p.m. on the East Coast on TVOne but check your local listings.
Williams was known as one of the founders and leaders of the Crips gang in South Los Angeles and was convicted of the 1979 murders of the Yen-Yi Yang, 76, and his wife, Tsai-Shai C. Yang, 63, both Taiwan immigrants who ran the Brookhaven Motel on 104th and Vermont Avenue in South Los Angeles with their daughter, Yu-Chin Yang Lin, 43, and son Robert.
Williams was convicted of all four murders with special circumstances on each count of felony murder (robbery) as well as multiple murder in the case of the Brookhaven event. The jury also convicted him of robbery in both cases, and found that he personally used a firearm in the commission of the crimes. The jury returned a verdict of Guilty, and the judge sentenced him to death.
He always maintained his innocence and while incarcerated authored several books, including anti-gang and anti-violence literature and children’s books.
On December 13, 2005, Williams was executed by lethal injection after clemency and a four-week stay of execution were both rejected by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I spoke with Williams everyday up until the day that he could no longer have access to the phone which I think was December 11 or 12, 2005. I was honored to be one of if not the last person to interview Williams before his execution. With my then-boss and chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus Assemblymember Mervyn Dymally who was also against the death penalty we worked with Governor Schwarzenegger’s clemency secretary at the time to try and secure clemency for Williams to but to no avail.
Tonight’s show is going to look at Williams’ life as well as his fight for clemency.