Skip to comments.Lethal journey draws to a close (activities at San Quentin on Tookie's last day)
Posted on 12/12/2005 6:55:25 AM PST by doug from upland
Lethal journey draws to a close
By John Simerman
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Stanley "Tookie" Williams will spend most of his remaining daytime hours with visitors inside a Plexiglas cubicle, wearing waist restraints and handcuffs and under constant watch.
About 6 p.m., a special security team will escort him from North Segregation, the original death row, to an annex building, and one of two "death watch cells" adjacent to the green execution chamber.
There, he can watch TV or listen to the radio, possibly tuning in as supporters gather for a mass vigil expected outside the prison's East Gate. The Crips gang co-founder, convicted of the robbery-murders of four people in 1979, faces lethal injection at 12:01 a.m., barring an 11th-hour reprieve.
"If he has requested a last meal, that's where he would have it," said Sgt. Eric Messick, a San Quentin spokesman. "He'll be there for the rest of the night."
Williams, whose tale of atonement and crusade for gang peace from death row has spawned a broad campaign to spare him, reportedly will make no such meal request.
San Quentin officials tightly control what happens in the days, minutes and moments before an execution, including a prisonwide lockdown today. The rules are spelled out in grim detail, in the innocuously titled "San Quentin Operational Procedure No. 770."
The plan, which has been refined over the course of 11 executions since 1992, covers all aspects of the execution process, from the inmate's access to checkers and chess and the availability of coffee, to the number and type of witnesses and the detailed procedure for administering a fatal overload of three drugs shortly after midnight.
Even before today, Williams' cell was cleared of most possessions, and he has been shackled and bolted to a chair during visits.
This afternoon, a member of the injection team will visit the pharmacy for the drugs that will kill Williams, place them in the "Lethal Injection Drug Box," then lock it.
Williams, 51, will strip for a body search before he is placed in mechanical restraints and taken in his underwear to the holding cell. There, he will be searched again and scanned with a metal detector before dressing in a new set of clothes and canvas slippers.
He will remain under constant observation by a three-member team "just to get a read on the man and see how he's doing," said Messick.
Williams can send out last letters and transfer any funds in his prison account to a beneficiary.
If he chooses, a spiritual adviser can visit, bringing a personal prayer book or Bible, a communion pyx, sacramental wafers or other approved religious items.
When Warden Steven Ornoski signals, Williams will walk on his own through the oval door of the execution chamber, where the state's first gas execution was carried out in 1938.
Barring a last-minute stay, Williams will be the 12th condemned inmate executed since California reinstated the death penalty in 1978. He also will have served more time on death row -- 24 years, seven months and 23 days -- than any of the previous inmates put to death.
Inside the octagonal vacuum chamber, Williams will be strapped onto a table and connected to a cardiac monitor. Anonymous members of an execution team will tap two of his veins for IVs. The second IV is a backup, in case of blockage or malfunction.
The team will leave the chamber, seal the door and turn on the exhaust fan. The three drugs are administered through an anteroom. That room also holds three telephones: one for the governor, one for the state Supreme Court and the Attorney General's Office, and one for the warden's office.
Williams can request Valium or a similar relaxant.
The lethal injection drugs are administered one by one, each of them in doses meant to be lethal.
The first injection is 5 grams of sodium pentathol, a common anesthetic. Delivered in a dosage about 50 times greater than during surgery, it is designed to knock the inmate unconscious.
The second, 50 cubic centimeters of pancuronium bromide, paralyzes the skeletal muscles. The third, 50 cubic centimeters of potassium chloride, halts the heart.
Legal challenges have claimed that malfunctions can cause tortuously painful death even as the inmate appears sedate. The challenges have keyed on pancuronium bromide, which could mask agony if the sodium pentathol fails to render the inmate unconscious.
Courts have denied such claims, including one filed by convicted murderer Kevin Cooper, whose execution last year was stayed for different reasons.
Asked if Williams may require more of the chemicals because of his muscular stature, Messick, the prison spokesman, said no.
"The potency of each of those chemicals is plenty enough for any sized person," he said.
A physician will then pronounce Williams dead and the witnesses will leave. The manual states that his body will then be removed from the table "with care and dignity" and placed in a body bag.
"A physician will then pronounce Williams dead and the witnesses will leave. The manual states that his body will then be removed from the table "with care and dignity" and placed in a body bag."
You mean we won't have somebody to stand over his gurgling body, eating a sammich and laughing?
I really hope that Arnold doesn't cave on this one.
[[You mean we won't have somebody to stand over his gurgling body, eating a sammich and laughing? ]]
That was cold but I loved it. :)
I want to know what his last meal will be.
I didn't write that one.
I'm pretty sure he turned down a last meal.
What did he do again? Just to refresh people's memories.
Opppps, sorry Doug, my mistake. I see that Sample wrote it. I'm still smiling :)
Hope I can find a station to hear the lib's wail at 12:01:15.
I he dies, California burns....bet on it. I am glad I am not there
I always wondered why they would have one. I'm pretty sure if I'm facing death a baked stuffed lobster and a hot fudge brownie sunday would not be on my mind.
Gee. When was the last time the public was told "the grim details" of Tookies shotgun spree against four innocent people just trying to make an honest living?
You can listen online starting at 3pm Pacific. The link in No. 8 above will help you.
GIVE THE DRIP TO THE CRIP!
So that makes it a win win situation.
"If he dies, California burns....bet on it. I am glad I am not there"
South Central LA may burn, but anywhere else....not likely.
I live in California and am not the least bit worried.
Yeah, maybe. Except at 50 times the normal dosage for surgery, the sodium pentathol not only renders him unconscious, it also renders him 100% dead. Then they hit him with two more things that do the same thing. Except that you can only kill this bastard once, and the sodium pentathol will do that all by itself.
That's too bad, in a way. I'd say it would be more appropriate to substitute saline solution instead of the sodium penthol. Then Drano.