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World News: Convicted killer Williams executed in San Quentin prison Black Habits Articles Convicted killer Stanley (Tookie) Williams was executed by lethal injection in California's San Quentin prison early Tuesday morning.

Williams, a founding member of the notorious Crips gang, was convicted of gunning down four people while robbing a convenience store and a motel in 1979. Williams claimed he was innocent.

He was sentenced to death in 1981.

On Monday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to grant him clemency. Schwarzenegger could have commuted Williams's sentence to life in prison.

As well, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant Williams stay of execution and the U.S. Supreme Court also refused to block it.

'Executed by lethal injection'

"He was executed by lethal injection shortly after midnight," San Quentin's warden, Steven Ornoski, told reporters at an early morning briefing in San Quentin.

Williams was pronounced dead at 12:35 a.m. local time.

Reporters who witnessed the execution said the room fell silent after it became clear that Williams had died.

"A long time elapsed," said Eric Leonard of KFI radio in Los Angeles.

Williams spent his last hours "communicating with his attorney and friends on the telephone," Ornoski said.

Debate over death penalty

Those last hours also saw no let up in the efforts to stop the execution in a case that intensified the debate over the death penalty in the United States.

A number of celebrities – including Bishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Jesse Jackson, actor Jamie Foxx and rap star Snoop Dogg – had intervened in the case.

Along with other supporters, they argued that Williams should have been spared because he had since repented and tried to make amends.

During his time in prison, Williams wrote a memoir and a series of anti-gang books for kids, preaching a clean life.

Note: Last Updated Tue, 13 Dec 2005 04:59:05 EST CBC News
Posted on Tuesday, December 13 @ 09:12:58 UTC by jcohen

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