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Clemency countdown continues for Crips creator

Gov. Schwarzenegger has until Monday to decide Tookie's fate



Capital Punishment
Arnold Schwarzenegger

SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- With his execution scheduled for Tuesday, his attorneys have made their final appeals. Now, Crips co-founder and convicted murderer Stanley Tookie Williams must wait on death row to find out if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will spare his life.

Attorneys for Williams, who helped create the Crips street gang, met for about an hour with Schwarzenegger on Thursday to appeal for his clemency, a decision the governor could make at the 11th hour. Attorneys on both sides were reticent about the meeting.

Williams' lead attorney, Peter Fleming, told reporters, "I'm still frightened to death." Asked about Williams' chance of getting clemency, Fleming said, "I'm not an oddsmaker." (Watch what his former neighbors think -- 2:13)

Williams is scheduled to die Tuesday, 17 days before his 52nd birthday, for four murders he was convicted of committing in 1979.

Williams was sentenced to death in 1981. The governor must decide by Monday whether to send him to the death chamber, but Schwarzenegger's office has indicated that the decision will likely come sooner.

If Schwarzenegger decides to grant him clemency, Williams will have his death sentence commuted to life in prison without parole, a fate his attorneys say he deserves for his anti-gang crusades from jail and his authoring of children's books warning kids about the dangers of gang life. Proceeds from those books have been donated to anti-gang community groups.

However, lead prosecutor John Monaghan scoffs at the notion of Williams' good will and repentance, saying the gang leader killed four people in an "abhorrent manner" and that he has never admitted to or apologized for his crimes. Moreover, Monaghan said, Williams has refused to provide authorities with any valuable information about the Crips.

"These were extremely brutal crimes," he told reporters. "Mr. Williams should pay the ultimate penalty for his crimes." (Read how prison officials have tried to offset Williams' positive press)

Williams was convicted of shooting the teen clerk of a Los Angeles, California, convenience store in the back as the 17-year-old lay on the floor.

He also was convicted of shooting and killing a Chinese couple and their 41-year-old daughter and stealing less than $100 from their motel room.

All four murders were handled in a single trial.

Fleming said Williams told him he never admitted to the crimes because he didn't commit them. "If my innocence will cost me my life, so be it," Fleming recalled his client once telling him.

But Monaghan said Williams won't confess because he would have no shot at getting his sentence commuted if he did.

"In the face of overwhelming evidence, he denies he committed them because he knows if he admitted he committed them, he simply wouldn't have a chance at all," he said. "If Mr. Williams truly had turned a new leaf, he would sit down and he would debrief. He would lay out everything he knows about the Crips gang."

The fight to save Williams has become a cause celebre with Hollywood heavy hitters like rapper Snoop Dogg and actor Jamie Foxx speaking in favor of Williams.

They are just two of the many celebrities and politicians weighing in on the case, thus putting intense pressure on Schwarzenegger, who already has been given an earful by law enforcement officials, religious groups, victims' rights advocates, death penalty opponents and the NAACP. (Watch what the governor is facing -- 3:02)

Outside the California Capitol Thursday, scores of protesters gathered to support Williams, holding signs that read "Save Tookie!" and "Abolish the racist death penalty."

Williams' attorneys petitioned the state's high court November 10 to reopen the case, alleging that the forensic testing on the shell casings from the motel was faulty and that informants lied to prosecutors. In a 4-2 vote last week, the California Supreme Court declined to stop the execution. (Full story)

A California governor has not granted clemency to a death row inmate since 1967.

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