Stanley Tookie Williams III (December 29, 1953 – December 13, 2005) was one of the early leaders in the West Side Crips, an American street gang which has its roots in South Central Los Angeles in 1969. Once incarcerated, he authored several books, including anti-gang and anti-violence literature and children's books.
On December 13, 2005, Williams was executed by lethal injection after clemency and a four-week stay of execution were both rejected by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, amid debate over the death penalty. Williams was the second inmate in California to be executed in 2005.
On December 12, 2005, Governor Schwarzenegger denied clemency for Williams. In his denial, Governor Schwarzenegger cited the following:
- "The possible irregularities in Williams' trial have been thoroughly and carefully reviewed by the courts, and there is no reason to disturb the judicial decisions that uphold the jury's decisions that he is guilty of these four murders and should pay with his life."
- The basis of his request for clemency is the "personal redemption Stanley Williams has experienced and the positive impact of the message he sends," yet "it is impossible to separate Williams' claim of innocence from his claim of redemption."
- "Cumulatively, the evidence demonstrating Williams is guilty of these murders is strong and compelling … there is no reason to second guess the jury's decision of guilt or raise significant doubts or serious reservations about Williams' convictions and death sentence."
- "Williams has written books that instruct readers to avoid the gang lifestyle and to stay out of prison … (h)e has also … tried to preach a message of gang avoidance and peacemaking … (i)t is hard to assess the effect of such efforts in concrete terms, but the continued pervasiveness of gang violence leads one to question the efficacy of Williams' message."
- "The dedication of Williams' book Life in Prison casts significant doubt on his personal redemption… the mix of individuals on [the dedication] list is curious … (b)ut the inclusion of George Jackson on the list defies reason and is a significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legitimate means to address societal problems."
- "Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise? Stanley Williams insists he is innocent, and that he will not and should not apologize or otherwise atone for the murders of the four victims in this case. Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings there can be no redemption. In this case, the one thing that would be the clearest indication of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do."
Governor Schwarzenegger summarized by basing his denial of clemency on the "totality of circumstances."