How Will Schwarzenegger Respond to Tookie Williams?

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

By now many know the story of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, courtesy of the smash performance by Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx, who played Williams in the made-for-TV film "Redemption." The story of the co-founder of the Crips street gang is a gory tale of mayhem and destruction -- and also a saintly tale of spiritual renewal, public service and human achievement. The whole of Tookie's story could be headed for a tragic end when his execution date is formally set. That could happen at an Oct. 24 hearing in Los Angeles.

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has made it clear that he'll push hard for an execution date. On Oct. 11 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to reopen Williams' case. That pretty much slammed the legal door shut on one of America's most famous death row inmates. Williams, convicted of four murders committed during two robberies, has languished on death row for nearly a quarter of century. He says he is innocent and claims he got a bad shake: a mostly white jury convicted him, he got a sub-par legal defense and his case was based largely on testimony from jailhouse informants.