By Tim Molloy
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge has set a Dec. 13 execution date for Crips co-founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams, rejecting his attorneys' request for more time to prepare a clemency appeal for the convicted murderer and Nobel Prize nominee.
"This case has taken over 24 years to get to this point," said Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders, who signed Williams' death warrant Monday. "That is a long delay in itself and I would hate to add to that delay."
Williams, 51, was sentenced to death in 1981 for fatally shooting Albert Owens, a Whittier convenience store worker. He also was convicted of killing two Los Angeles motel owners and their daughter during a robbery.
Williams, who has maintained his innocence, has written a series of children's books disavowing gang violence during his years on Death Row. He has been nominated five times for a Nobel Prize for peace and four times for a Nobel Prize for literature.
His lawyers had requested that Pounders schedule his execution in San Quentin prison's death chamber for Dec. 22 to give them more time to craft their clemency request. The Dec. 13 execution date means they have until Nov. 8 to submit clemency papers to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Pounders said Williams' lawyers could ask the governor for more time to tell him about the good work Williams has done since renouncing his gang past.
In August, Williams received a President's Call to Service Award for his good deeds on Death Row, complete with a letter from President Bush praising him for demonstrating "the outstanding character of America."
Last year, Jamie Foxx played Williams in "Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story," a television movie that prompted thousands of e-mail messages to Williams from young gang members who said his story helped them turn their lives around.
Williams and a high school friend, Raymond Washington, organized the Crips street gang in Los Angeles in 1971.
Lora Owens, Albert Owens' stepmother, said Williams does not deserve clemency.
"I didn't convict the man and I didn't put a death sentence on him, but I want justice for Albert to be done. I will not let it go," she said in a recent telephone interview.
Dozens of death penalty opponents held a quiet demonstration Monday outside the courtroom. They held a banner praising Williams' work to prevent gang violence that read, "Keeping him alive saves lives!"
Among the demonstrators was actor Mike Farrell, who called the proceedings "disgusting."
"It's a simple, sterile, ministerial procedure in which a human life is scheduled to be expunged without consideration for his value, his change, his transformation," Farrell said.