2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Gang leader denied clemency NEwsINBRE
Former Crips gang member to
be executed despite supporters'
claims that he had a change of
heart while on death row
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwar-
zenegger refused to block the execution early today
of Stanley Tookie Williams, rejecting the notion that
the founder of the murderous Crips gang had atoned
for his crimes and found redemption on death row.
With a federal court refusing to grant a reprieve,
Williams, 51, was set to die by injection at San Quen-
tin Prison just after midnight for murdering four
people during two 1979 holdups.
Williams's case became one of the nation's big-
gest death-row cause celebres in decades. It set off
a nationwide debate over the possibility of redemp-
tion on death row, with Hollywood stars and capi-
tal punishment foes arguing that Williams had
made amends by writing children's books about
the dangers of gangs.
But Schwarzenegger suggested that Williams's
supposed change of heart was not genuine, noting
that the inmate had not owned up to his crimes or
shown any real remorse for the countless killings
committed by the Crips.
"Is Williams's redemption complete and sincere, or
is it just a hollow promise?" Schwarzenegger wrote
less than 12 hours before the execution. "Without an
apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal
killings, there can be no redemption."
Williams's supporters were disappointed with the
governor's refusal to commute the death sentence to
life in prison without parole.
"Too often I hear the governor and many who
are around him talk about his values system," said
NAACP President Bruce Gordon. "In this particu-
lar case, those values seem to be cast aside. There is
absolutely no recognition given to redemption."
Williams stood to become the 12th person exe-
cuted in California since lawmakers reinstated the
death penalty in 1977.
He was condemned in 1981 for gunning down con-
venience store clerk Albert Owens, 26, at a 7-Eleven
in Whittier and killing Yen-I Yang, 76, Tsai-Shai
Chen Yang, 63, and the couple's daughter Yu-Chin
Yang Lin, 43, at the Los Angeles motel they owned.
Williams claimed he was innocent.
Just before the governor announced his deci-
sion, the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals denied Wil-
liams's request for a reprieve, saying there was
no "clear and convincing evidence of actual inno-
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Racial tensions erupt in Sydney suburbs
Violence spilled into a second night yesterday as scores of youths drove
through predominantly white suburbs in Sydney, smashing windows of
cars, homes and stores and raising fears of spreading racial unrest.
Prime Minister John Howard called the violence "sickening" but denied
it was rooted in racism. Arab community leaders said the unrest would
heighten racial tensions as cell phone text messages warned of retribution
by the Arab community and attacks by neo-Nazi groups.
About 5,000 white men, many of them drunk, targeted people believed to be
of Arab or Middle Eastern descent on Cronulla Beach on Sunday after rumors
spread that Lebanese youths assaulted two lifeguards earlier this month.
Police, who had stepped up patrols on the beach after learning of cell
phone text messages urging people to retaliate for the attack on the life-
guards, fought back with batons and pepper spray.
Young men of Arab descent struck back in several Sydney suburbs Sun-
day, fighting with police for hours and smashing dozens of cars with sticks
and bats, police said.
Michael Scruggs, a former founding member of the Inglewood Village Crips gang, reacts to the news
of California Gov Arnold Achwarzenegger's denial of clemency to Stanley Tookie Williams yesterday.
cence." His lawyers planned to take their case to
the U.S. Supreme Court.
The last California governor to grant clemency
was Ronald Reagan, who spared a mentally infirm
killer in 1967. Schwarzenegger - a Republican who
has come under fire from members of his own party
as too accommodating to liberals - rejected clem-
ency twice before during his two years in office.
In denying clemency to Williams, Schwarzeneg-
ger said that the evidence of his guilt was "strong
and compelling," and he dismissed suggestions that
the trial was unfair.
Schwarzenegger also pointed out the brutality
of the crimes, noting that Williams allegedly said
about one of the killings, "You should have heard
the way he sounded when I shot him." According
to the governor's account, Williams then made a
growling noise and laughed for five to six minutes.
In addition, the governor noted that Williams dedi-
cated his 1998 book "Life in Prison" to a list of figures
that included the black militant George Jackson - "a
significant indicator that Williams is not reformed and
that he still sees violence and lawlessness as a legiti-
mate means to address societal problems."
Schwarzenegger also noted that there is "little
mention or atonement in his writings and his plea
for clemency of the countless murders committed
by the Crips following the lifestyle Williams once
espoused. The senseless killing that has ruined
many families, particularly in African-American
communities, in the name of the Crips and gang
warfare is a tragedy of our modern culture."
Williams and a friend founded the Crips in Los
Angeles in 1971. Authorities say it is responsible for
hundreds of deaths, many of them in battles with the
rival Bloods for turf and control of the drug trade.
Judge extends hotel
A federal judge ruled yesterday that a program that is putting tens of thousands
of Hurricane Katrina evacuees up in hotels must be extended until Feb. 7 - a
month beyond the cutoff date set by FEMA.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval said victims must be given more
time in hotels because FEMA cannot guarantee that all applications for
other aid, such as rent assistance or trailers, will be processed by the agen-
cy's Jan. 7 deadline.
The temporary restraining order was part of a class-action lawsuit filed in
November by advocates for hurricane victims.
Attorneys pressing the lawsuit had argued that sticking to a January deadline
would mean homelessness for thousands of evacuees.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to pick up the tab for
about 41,000 hotel rooms in 47 states and the District of Columbia at an estimat-
ed cost so far of about $350 million. In addition, the agency has provided rental
assistance to more than 500,000 families who lost their homes to Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita, spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said.
The agency "will review the judge's decision and continue to reach out to help
those evacuated get the help they need as they get back on their feet," she said.
High court to hear Texas redistricting case
The U.S. Supreme Court waded into the thicket of Texas politics yester-
day, agreeing to review controversial redistricting that produced ballot box
gains for Republicans but an ethics rebuke and criminal charges for U.S.
Rep. Tom DeLay.
The justices had seemed to leave scant room in 2004 for the type of chal-
lenge raised by Texas Democrats and their allies in yesterday's case, but
the high court is undergoing transition now.
Democrats claimed optimism following the announcement that the jus-
tices had agreed to hear arguments. "Today's Supreme Court action agree-
ing to take up the Texas case on Tom DeLay's illegal redistricting scheme
is a hopeful sign that the voting rights of millions of minorities will be
restored," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott countered, "After hearing the case, we
expect the court will agree with the unanimous judgment of the three-judge
federal court that the Texas redistricting plan is wholly constitutional."
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - In a rare
unscripted moment, President Bush esti-
mated 30,000 Iraqis have died in the war,
the first time he has publicly acknowl-
edged the high price Iraqis have paid in
the push for democracy.
In the midst of a campaign to win sup-
port for the unpopular war, Bush unex-
pectedly invited questions from the World
Affairs Council of Philadelphia after a
speech asserting that Iraq was making
progress despite violence, flawed elections
and other setbacks.
He immediately was challenged about
the number of Iraqis who have lost their
lives since the beginning of the war.
"I would say 30,000, more or less, have
died as a result of the initial incursion and
the ongoing violence against Iraqis," Bush
said. "We've lost about 2,140 of our own
troops in Iraq."
The U.S. military does not release its
tally of Iraqi dead, but there is some con-
sensus from outside experts that roughly
30,000 is a credible number. White House
counselor Dan Bartlett said Bush was not
giving an official figure but simply repeat-
ing public estimates.
Another questioner challenged the
administration's linkage of the Iraq war
to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Bush said Saddam Hussein was a threat
and was widely believed to have weap-
ons of mass destruction - a belief that
later proved false.
"I made a tough decision. And knowing
what I know today, l'd make the decision
again," Bush said. "Removing Saddam
Hussein makes this world a better place
and America a safer country."
Yesterday's speech represented a depar-
ture from Bush's standard format where he
speaks before friendly audiences - often
cheering members of the military - and
does not open himself to questions. He
refused to take audience questions after an
Iraq speech before the Council on Foreign
Relations last week even though the group
has a tradition of such queries. Bush will
make another speech on Iraq tomorrow,
the last in a series of four addresses lead-
ing to Iraq's parliamentary elections.
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