Skip to comments.Performance will mark one-year anniversary of Tookie's execution
Posted on 11/28/2006 3:43:26 PM PST by SmithL
SAN FRANCISCO - The Black Repertory Group will re-enact the execution of Crips co-founder and murderer Stanley Tookie Williams to mark the one-year anniversary of the former gang leader's death by lethal injection.
Williams' longtime friend and co-author Barbara Becnel and Shirley Neal, a vice president at The Africa Channel, are co-producing the Dec. 12 event to show what they witnessed as "dramatic and horrific."
"This is what the state of California is doing in the name of its people," Becnel told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "We were there. We saw it. Now we want the public to see what we saw."
Becnel, who co-wrote the script with Neal, said the Berkeley event, which is meant to make a political statement, will begin with music and speeches celebrating Williams' "peacemaker legacy."
At midnight, the re-enactment will unfold in real time, she said.
During the actual execution, which took longer than most as prison staff struggled to insert the intravenous lines in his arms, Williams seemed to grow frustrated.
About 15 minutes after the process began, he appeared to ask: "You doing that right?" Even the prison warden acknowledged Williams' apparent frustration.
Williams, 51, died at 12:35 a.m. on Dec. 13, 2005 for murdering four people during a pair of Los Angeles robberies in 1979 that netted little more than gas money.
"It may make some people uncomfortable," Neal said. "To show them that it's even worse than you think it is and ... once you see what's going on, you'll want to act."
In February, a federal judge halted the execution of rapist and murderer Michael Morales after his lawyers cited Williams' death and others to support their claim that lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.
U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel said he found substantial evidence the last six men executed at San Quentin might have been conscious and suffering during the process. A decision about how to proceed with future executions is expected soon.
Williams' became a national cause celebre for death penalty opponents and reignited a debate over whether a killer could find redemption on death row.
Celebrities, including actor Jamie Foxx, rapper Snoop Dogg and other capital punishment foes argued Williams had made amends by writing children's books about the evils of gangs, while opponents pointed to the Crips violent legacy.
Kent Scheidegger, spokesman for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a group dedicated to victims' rights, said it's unlikely "Witness to an Execution" will present an accurate portrayal of death by lethal injection.
"If they show how it really is, it won't be horrible," said Scheidegger, who said he's never seen an execution, but said the amount of sedatives is many times greater than a person undergoing surgery.
"A murderer has no right to a completely painless execution," he added. "Few, if any, murder victims die with as little pain as occurs in lethal injection."
Who are they going to execute in re-creating this? I like realism. California has one or two to spare on death row.
Will they re-enact the way he shotgunned that poor Chinese couple in the face?
Concern for the victims is so last century... /s
who's the star of this show? it will be fantastic but you can only perform it once.
It's okay for Tookie and others to murder people. But his execution by injection, after having been afforded all the rights given to him by the laws and the Constitution, is "dramatic and horrific". These people are just plain stupid.
This same old, same old is tiring.
About the only thing they are doing right.
Tookie, Tookie, Tookie one year down and an eternity to go.
Just pop a .22 short in his ear, it will work every time.
You think they will sing this favorite:
"Na-Na-Nahh-Na, Na-Na-Nahh-Na, Hey, Hey, Hey...Goodbye!"
And maybe a "Live Thread."
Or would that be called a "Dead Thread"?
“dramatic and horrific”
And I guess his murders were gentle and sympathetic?