Stanley Tookie Williams III
Rehabilitation from founding gang member to Nobel Peace Prize nominee not enough to make it off Death Row alive.
“Williams message denouncing gang life and promoting peace with rival gangs did result in a truce. The Tookie Protocol for Peace is credited with settling disputes. Nobel Peace Prize nominee for Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir. Williams was nominated from 2001 to 2005 for the Nobel Prize in Literature. In 2005, while his case was under US Supreme Court review, Williams, 53, received “The Outstanding Character of America Award” for his work from death row, and a President’s Call to Service Award, certificate of achievement and commendation letters from the president, former Senators Bob Dole, and John Glenn, honorary co-chairs of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. William A. Harrison, of West Monroe, La., a minister at The Old Catholic Orthodox Church, nominated Williams for the award, “People can be redeemed. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you may be on death row, but to be able to lend something that people can say, ‘this has inspired me to change my life.”
In 1998, US District Judge Stephen Wilson stated Williams’ conviction was based on circumstantial evidence and had witness credibility problems. There were no witnesses to the motel murders, and the only witness to the Owens killing, was the accomplice. The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the prosecution relied on witnesses with “less-than-clean backgrounds” and rewarded them for testifying against Williams. Since Williams maintained his innocence, he would not apologize for the crimes. Clemency was not possible.
A tape played Williams’ final words:
“The war within me is over. I battled my demons and I was triumphant. Teach them how to avoid our destructive footsteps. Teach them to strive for higher education. Teach them to promote peace and teach them to focus on rebuilding the neighborhoods that you, others and I helped to destroy.”
Williams’ ashes were to be scattered in South Africa.