The U.S. Supreme Court refused yesterday to take the case of California death row inmate Stanley "Tookie" Williams, a founder of the Crips street gang whose later work for peace won him Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
Williams, who has been praised for his children's books and efforts to curtail youth gang violence, likely will be executed in December if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger does not grant clemency. The 51-year-old former gang member claims Los Angeles prosecutors violated his rights when they dismissed all potential black jurors.
Williams, who claims he is innocent, is in line to be one of three California condemned inmates to be executed within months. He was condemned for killing four people in 1981 and claims jailhouse informants fabricated testimony that he confessed to the murders.
While in prison, Williams has been nominated five times for a Nobel Peace Prize and four times for the Nobel Prize for literature for his series of children's books and international peace efforts intended to curtail youth gang violence.
His case reached the justices following after a San Francisco-based appeals court, as well as the Supreme Court, refused to grant Williams another hearing based on his argument that prosecutors had violated his rights when they dismissed all potential black jurors from hearing the case.
The San Francisco appellate court had suggested he was a good candidate for clemency. The judges cited the children's books he has written from prison, in addition to messages of peace he posts on the Internet.
Williams and a high school buddy started the Crips street gang in Los Angeles in 1971.
Williams was sentenced to death in 1981 for fatally shooting a convenience store worker. He also was convicted of using a shotgun a few days later to kill two Los Angeles motel owners and their daughter during a robbery.
Last year, "Redemption: The Stan Tookie Williams Story" aired on television, prompting thousands of e-mail messages to Williams from young gang members who said his life story helped them turn their lives around, AP reports.
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