Who could believe it. The AP has done a story about the victims of Tookie, amazing:
One victim was a young convenience store clerk and military veteran who moved back to California to fight for custody of his daughters. The other three were family members who owned a motel they were hoping to sell because the neighborhood had grown too rough.
For all four, plans to change their lives were cut short by the sawed-off shotgun of Crips co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams during a pair of 1979 robberies in Los Angeles County that have put him on death row.
Their stories are part of the pitch prosecutors have made to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to deny clemency and let Williams die by lethal injection on Tuesday, but most of the news coverage has focused on the criminal, not the crime.
Family members say too much attention is being paid to Williams and too little is focused on their loved ones who got no second chances, no opportunities to turn their lives around.
With the help of prosecutors and victims’ rights advocates, they plan to urge the governor Thursday to consider their loss ? store clerk Albert Owens, 26 and motel owners Yen-I Yang, 76 and Tsai-Shai Yang, 63, and their daughter Ye-Chen Lin, 43, who left behind shattered families and changed lives.
[…]Owens’ stepmother wrote that Williams caused her family 26 years of anguish.
“His just punishment, his execution, could provide us some closure and peace,” Lora Owens wrote.
In an interview, she said Williams’ books, his Nobel peace and literature prize nominations by a lawmaker, professors and others, and his life story portrayed in a made-for-television movie called “Redemption,” reopen old wounds.
Her husband died in 1995 and she said one of his last concerns was justice for his son.
“It was on his mind up to the very end,” she said. “You just don’t forget things like that. You don’t put it behind you.”
Owens had two young daughters when he died in a 7-Eleven storage room about 4 a.m. on Feb. 28, 1979, shot twice in the back with a sawed-off shotgun. Four years earlier, he had split with his wife, leaving his two daughters to be raised by their mother, who had remarried.
Rebecca Owens, who was 8 at the time of the killing, spent most of her life believing that the man who murdered her father had been convicted and executed; family members insisted that was the case.
Four years ago, she said she learned Williams was alive and had been nominated for a Nobel Prize.
“I was just flabbergasted,” Rebecca Owens, now 35, recently told a group of students in Santa Clara. “How could the man who co-founded the Crips be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? What in the world?”
Her uncle, Wayne Owens, the victim’s older brother, said he generally opposes the death penalty, but he believes it’s warranted in Williams’ case because he fears the former gangster would someday be released if he’s not executed.
“After many years of consideration and a totally inordinate amount of soul searching, I had to make a choice that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with,” Wayne Owens, 55, said from his home in Olathe, Kan. “If there were a way to say, ‘If you will sign a paper and say that you will stop trying to get out. If you will stop the litigation,’ I will be the first to say, ‘OK, clemency’s cool.’ But to believe that this man will be released and become a hero and be proof that you don’t have to take responsibility, that’s a message we can’t afford to put out. That’s something we can’t teach our children.”
On March 11, 1979, less than two weeks after the Owens murder, three members of the Yang family were gunned down after Williams broke into the Brookhaven Motel. They were preparing to sell the business because the neighborhood had deteriorated, according to the prosecutor at the time.
The Yang’s son, Robert Yang, was awakened by gunfire, called police and later testified against Williams.
Prosecutor Robert Martin, who’s now retired, said Robert Yang was blamed by other family members for not saving them. Williams ruined two families and doesn’t deserve forgiveness, he said.
Efforts by The Associated Press to track down surviving Yang family members were unsuccessful, but according to the state attorney general’s office, they support the jury’s verdict and oppose clemency.
“There’s a disease called San Quentinitis. When people go to San Quentin, they find God,” Martin said. “Society has to find a balance. Is cold-blooded murder of four people overcome by participating in a few books? That’s the judgment the governor is now going to have to make.”