THE RACE BETWEEN THE NEEDLE AND THE NOBEL IN CALIFORNIA
Appeals court clears Crips founder for execution
SAN FRANCISCO - Convicted killer Stanley Williams, the co-founder of the Crips gang of Los Angeles and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, has been cleared for execution by a federal appeals court.
He could be executed by lethal injection as early as next year if the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declines to reconsider his appeal and if the U.S. Supreme Court does not intervene.
Williams and a high school buddy, Raymond Washington, created the Crips in 1971. Hundreds of spinoffs and copycat gangs have since emerged across the nation.
Washington was killed during a gang confrontation in 1979. Williams, "Big Took" to his fellow gang members, continued his violent ways and transformed the Crips into a nationwide enterprise.
Williams, now 48, was convicted of killing four people in 1979. While appealing his death sentence, he spends time writing children's books and coordinating an international peace effort for youths — all from his cell at San Quentin State Prison.
Williams was sentenced to death in 1981 for fatally shooting Albert Owens, a Whittier convenience store worker. He was also convicted of using a shotgun a few days later to kill Los Angeles motel owners Tsai-Shai Yang, Yen-I Yang and their daughter Ye Chen Lin during a robbery in Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, the San Francisco-based court refused to block his execution.
Still, the 9th Circuit Court seemed sympathetic to Williams' plight and suggested that he was a "worthy candidate" for clemency from California's governor.
Williams did not win the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for his series of children's books and international peace efforts. Williams also has been nominated for the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, which is pending.