That Stanley "Tookie" Williams is a cold-blooded killer is beyond dispute. Even the ultra-liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could find no cause to overturn Williams' murder conviction and death sentence.
Yet Williams' indisputable guilt has not stopped Democrats from begging California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to spare this killer the death penalty, scheduled to be carried out Dec. 13 - more than 25 years after Williams murdered four people in two robberies that netted less than $300 total.
Williams' preferred means of murder was a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun. This weapon, serial number 3194397, was Exhibit 8 at the Los Angeles gang leader's trial. Using his shotgun at point-blank range, Williams killed a convenience store clerk and three members of a Chinese-American family.
These brutal killings shocked even Williams' criminal colleagues. The store clerk did everything Williams asked, offering no resistance when the 300-pound gangster shoved the shotgun into his back and ordered: "Shut up and keep walking." Williams forced the clerk into the store's stockroom at gunpoint, told him to lie down, and then fired two shells into the helpless man's back.
One accomplice told police: "I asked Tookie, I said, 'What you do?' He say, 'I killed him,' like that. And I say, 'Why you kill him?' He say, uh, 'So it wouldn't be no evidence.'" Williams later laughed as he bragged about the gurgling noise the dying clerk made: "You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him."
Less than two weeks after that robbery, Williams acted alone in robbing a motel owned by the Yang family. A muscle-bound weightlifter who liked to smoke PCP, Williams broke down the motel office door and shotgunned to death 76-year-old Tsai-Shai Yang, his 63-year-old wife, and the couple's 43-year old daughter. Williams told friends about this crime in some detail, saying that in his next robbery, he would "blow them away just like I blew them Buddaheads away."
Strangely, Democrats as far away as Iowa, Massachusetts and New York have signed a petition praising this California killer as "a powerful voice for peace." Stranger still, it seems the prime reason his defenders are so enamored of Williams is that he is no ordinary stickup man, but the infamous co-founder of a vicious criminal gang.
In 1971, he and another gang leader joined forces to form the Crips, who spread from their Los Angeles base to become a deadly nationwide menace. By 1989, Williams was one of at least 20 Crips on San Quentin's Death Row.
Democrats praise the shotgun-wielding gangbanger because in 1993, Williams agreed to appear in a videotape endorsing a truce between Los Angeles gangs and has since produced anti-violence books for children. This delights Democrats like California Assemblyman Mark Leno, who wrote a newspaper column lauding Williams for his "redemptive efforts to steer kids away from violence." (These "redemptive efforts" were so successful that Williams' son Tookie Jr. joined the Crips and then joined his father in prison, convicted for the 1994 murder of a 20-year-old woman.)
Williams has never admitted or taken responsibility for his crimes, instead blaming "a white-dominated society" that he says "brainwashed" him into becoming a gangster. He fiercely maintains the Crip code of non-cooperation with law enforcement, and his admirers have praised him for "not snitching." No one can doubt Tookie's hatred of "snitching." Shortly after his 1979 murder arrest, Williams plotted to kill an accomplice in the convenience store robbery who was prepared to testify against him.
A petition asking Mr. Schwartzenegger to commute Williams' death sentence - to "reinforce the meaning of hope for young people everywhere" - echoes the killer's self-serving defenses, blaming a "jailhouse snitch" for his murder conviction. (Hmmm. Williams murders all witnesses at the scenes of his crimes, then plans to murder an accomplice who might turn state's evidence. Wonder why prosecutors had to rely on the testimony of a "snitch"?)
The "Save Tookie" petition is signed by a left-wing Who's Who, including Hollywood types like Danny Glover and Susan Sarandon. But more tellingly, every politican who signed this dishonest petition is a Democrat, including former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, as well as Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington state, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, and George Miller of California.
Democrats cry foul when Republicans accuse them of being "soft on crime." But who is responsible for that perception when Democrats across the country sign up to plead the cause of a merciless murderer like Tookie Williams?
Robert Stacy McCain is an assistant national editor for The Washington Times and co-author (with Lynn Vincent) of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party, which will be published in April 2006 by Nelson Current.
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