A slightly different version/case # @ bottom also.
Crips leader seeks to reopen case, avoid execution
By DAVID KRAVETS, AP Legal Affairs Writer
Last Updated 1:35 pm PST Friday, November 11, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Stanley Tookie Williams, a founder of the Crips street gang, is trying to head off a Dec. 13 execution by asking the California Supreme Court to reopen the case, his attorneys said Friday.
Among other things, Williams' representatives say forensic testing may have falsely sent him to death row.
Williams' lawyer wants California's justices to allow the reexamination of evidence that showed a shotgun registered to Williams was used to kill three people during a motel robbery in 1979. They said conclusions that a shell casing found at the scene matched the shotgun were based on "junk science."
"The shotgun evidence isn't reliable," Pasadena attorney Verna Wefald said Friday. "There isn't any question about this."
They also want records about a witness who secured Williams's conviction of a fourth and final murder. That witness, now imprisoned in Canada for murder, testified that he and Williams robbed a convenience story and Williams killed the clerk, Albert Owens. Defense lawyers say his credibility is questionable.
Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said the government would oppose reopening the case. The justices on Thursday gave Lockyer's office until Nov. 18 to formally respond to the discovery motion.
"He has been rejected by every state and federal court that has heard Williams' prior appeals," Barankin said. "What they all determined was Williams was guilty."
Williams, 51, is in line to become one of three California condemned inmates to be executed within months.
He was condemned in 1981, but has maintained his innocence. He claims, among other things, fabricated testimony sent him to death row. He also says Los Angeles County prosecutors violated his rights when they dismissed all potential black jurors from his case.
The California Supreme Court, the federal trial and appellate courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court have already ruled against him.
Williams also is seeking clemency from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for killing Owens, the 7-Eleven clerk; and Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang and Yu-Chin Yang Lin. Those three were gunned down two weeks after
Owens when their motel was robbed.
While in San Quentin State Prison, Williams has been nominated five times for a Nobel Peace Prize and four times for the Nobel Prize for literature for his series of children's books and international peace efforts intended to curtail youth gang violence.
Williams and a high school friend, Raymond Washington, started the Crips street gang in Los Angeles in 1971.
The case is California v. Williams, S004365.
“Nobody's perfect. We're all just one step up from the beasts and one step down from the angels.”