All Over But the Dying

Stanley Williams has, as they say in the parlance of desperation, exhausted all his appeals.

Just after noon today, Arnold Schwarzenegger denied Williams clemency, declaring bluntly that he did not buy the ex-gang leader's change of heart or claims of innocence. "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption," wrote the California governor in his five-page statement of decision.

Williams' refusal to apologize for the crimes he has always claimed he did not commit seems to have been the deciding factor in the Governor's decision. "In this case, the one thing that would be the clearest indication of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do."

Just prior to the release of Schwarzenegger's statement, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the 51-year-old Williams' request for a reprieve. His execution, by lethal injection, is scheduled to take place at 12:01am Tuesday. Reporters are thronging the gates of San Quentin prison, where the California Highway Patrol has beefed up security in anticipation of the thousands of protesters who are expected to gather this evening.

As for Williams himself, by all reports, he remains calm. At 6pm PST, he will eat his last meal in his cell. He will dictate his last words, if he chooses to leave any behind, to the prison warden. As he said recently, "If it's my time to be executed, what's all the ranting and raving going to do?"

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