10/25/2005

LA judge signs death warrant for Crips gang co-founder

By TIM MOLLOY
Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES- A judge signed a death warrant Monday for Stanley "Tookie" Williams, co-founder of the notorious Crips gang, rejecting his attorneys' request for a delay in the execution date to give them more time to seek clemency from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Williams is scheduled to die Dec. 13 at San Quentin prison. He maintains he is innocent, and supporters cite his renunciation of his past and his efforts to curtail gang violence, including a series of children's books he co-wrote in prison.

His lawyers had asked that the execution date be set for Dec. 22, a nine-day delay. The Dec. 13 date means they have only until Nov. 8 to submit a clemency request to the governor. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider Williams' case earlier this month.

"This case has taken over 24 years to get to this point," Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders said. "That is a long delay in itself and I would hate to add to that delay."

Williams, 53, was sentenced to death in 1981 for fatally shooting Albert Owens, a Whittier convenience store worker, in 1979. He also was convicted of killing two Los Angeles motel owners and their daughter during a robbery that same year.

The U.S. Supreme Court turned aside his case earlier this month.

Williams and a high school friend started the Crips street gang in Los Angeles in 1971.

Supporters have nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel in literature, and a cable TV movie of his life last year starred Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx. Dozens of death penalty opponents demonstrated outside the courtroom. Among them was actor Mike Farrell, who said the proceedings failed to consider "his value, his change, his transformation."

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