Stanley "Tookie" Williams' life will not be spared, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Monday afternoon (December 12), denying the convicted murderer and former gang leader's appeal for clemency less than 12 hours before his scheduled execution.
"Clemency cases are always difficult and this one is no exception," Schwarzenegger said in a statement following his announcement. "After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency. The facts do not justify overturning the jury's verdict or the decisions of the courts in this case."
The governor held a clemency hearing on Thursday with Williams' lawyers and Los Angeles prosecutors. Each side had 30 minutes to plead their case on whether or not the Crips co-founder's life should be spared (see "Schwarzenegger Meets With Tookie Williams' Lawyers").
Schwarzenegger was Williams' last hope to stay alive, as the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Sunday against granting him a stay of execution, saying each of the nine claims he brought forth lacked merit (see "California Supreme Court Rejects Tookie Williams' Appeal"). A federal appeals court also ruled on Monday that it would not block Tuesday's scheduled execution. During a press conference Friday, Schwarzenegger called the decision of William's clemency "a very heavy responsibility."
After hearing the news, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, a vocal supporter and friend of Williams, said Schwarzenegger made the decision for purely political reasons. He added that he believes the five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee has earned clemency based on his meaningful contributions to society, by staving off at-risk youth from following his path into gang life.
During a meeting with Williams earlier that morning, Jackson told CNN that his friend seemed to possess a sense of inner peace. "He said he did not fear evil. He did not fear hurt," he said, adding that they had also said a prayer together.
Williams, who was convicted in 1981 of the murders of four people stemming from two separate robbery incidents in 1979, is set to die by lethal injection one minute after midnight at San Quentin State Prison. There is no word yet on who will be at the execution, but CNN reported that a few of Williams' family members, two spiritual advisors and members of the victims' families will most likely be present.
In earlier interviews, Williams seemed to have already accepted his fate. "I am not the kind of person to sit around and worry about being executed," Williams told Reuters in November. "I'm sure there are detractors who would like to hear that I am weeping ... [but] I fear nothing except God. My hope lies in [God] above anything and everything else. I have faith and if it doesn't go my way, it doesn't go my way."
Williams is said to have spent Monday morning in a visiting room with advisors, attorneys, family and friends. He will be moved into a special holding cell at 6 p.m., where he will be served his optional last meal.
Williams' case has rekindled the debate between those who support and oppose capital punishment. Meanwhile, Williams himself has remained fairly quiet on the matter, instead letting his high-profile backers speak for him. Among them are Jackson, rapper Snoop Dogg, who held a protest in San Quentin in support of his longtime friend (see "Snoop Tries To Get Crips Co-Founder Off Real Death Row"), and Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, who portrayed the convict in the TV movie "Redemption: The Tookie Williams Story."