- The Washington Times - Monday, November 21, 2005

SAN QUENTIN, Calif. - As murderer and Crips gang co-founder Stanley “Tookie” Williams tries to stave off execution next month, California prison officials have launched an unusual counterattack against the notion that he has redeemed himself behind bars.

The Corrections Department earlier this month posted a press release on its Web site about the upcoming execution, detailing Williams’ crimes and asserting that he has been a gang leader while on death row at San Quentin Prison.

San Quentin spokesman Vernell Crittendon, speaking on behalf of the department, went further in a recent interview, saying he suspects Williams is orchestrating gangland crimes from his cell. “I just don’t know that his heart is changed,” Mr. Crittendon said.

Williams, 51, has been behind bars since 1979, when he fatally shot four persons during two robberies in Los Angeles. He has been on death row since 1981 and is set to die by injection Dec. 13.

“They don’t have anything, because I’m not involved in anything,” Williams told the Associated Press from a visiting cage at San Quentin’s death row. “This is their way of executing me.”

He and a childhood friend founded the Crips in 1971 in Los Angeles, and in the years that followed, the gang did battle with its main rival, the Bloods, for territory and control of the drug trade, leaving hundreds dead.

Williams’ supporters contend he has made amends for his crimes, and they are pleading with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to spare his life.

In prison, Williams has gained international acclaim for writing children’s books about the dangers of gang life. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has attracted a cadre of celebrity supporters, including actor Jamie Foxx, who played Williams in a TV movie, and rapper Snoop Dogg.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office urged the governor not to grant clemency, calling his crimes “horrific” in a lengthy letter delivered to the governor’s office last week. It included gruesome details of the murders and bloody pictures of the dead.

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