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Tookie's Fate In Arnold's Hands

In this undated photo provided by the family of Stanley Williams, Stanley "Tookie" Williams poses for a photo in the visiting area of San Quentin State Prison in California.
AP (file)
Crips co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams lost another bid before the California Supreme Court when the justices unanimously ruled late Sunday not to reopen his case and block his execution, scheduled for Tuesday by means of lethal injection.

CBS News correspondent Manuel Gallegus reports supporters of Williams claim a surprise witness has come forward with new information that could prove the former gang leader is not guilty of the four murders he was convicted of in 1979. They are calling on California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant Williams a stay of execution.

The voices asking the governor to grant a stay include a number of prominent people.

"We are not trying to put Governor Schwarzenegger in a corner or anything like that," says actor Jamie Foxx. "We're just asking that he rule compassionately."

Williams says he is innocent of the murders and won't apologize for crimes he didn't do. In the children's books he has written while behind bars – books that convinced his supporters he has been rehabilitated from his old life - he warns about the danger of gangs and prison. His supporters say to kill him now would be a waste of a redeemed life.

"His voice is having a noticeable impact," says the Rev. Jesse Jackson, referring to Williams' advice to young people tempted by gangs. "We need his voice."

Black Entertainment Television is reporting that members of the Bloods gang – rivals of the Crips - are offering to turn in some guns if Williams is not executed.

Prosecutors and family members of the victims have sternly urged the governor to deny clemency, arguing that Williams has not redeemed himself and denies his guilt.

Williams is one of 560 death row inmates at San Quentin prison. If he is executed as scheduled, he will be the 12th condemned inmate executed in California since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977.

Sunday night, California's highest court ruled 6-0 against Williams' death row appeal, and said it lacked merit and was untimely as well, meaning Williams will be executed unless Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger grants clemency or a last-ditch federal appeal is successful.

California's justice days ago also turned down a similar appeal from Williams, who is scheduled to be the 12th condemned inmate executed since state lawmakers reinstated the death penalty in 1977 after a brief hiatus.

Lawyers for Williams immediately asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here to block his looming execution.

State prosecutors had implored the state Supreme Court justices early Sunday to dismiss Williams' petition to block his Tuesday execution for murdering four people in 1979.

The stay request filed on Williams' behalf "is without merit and is manifestly designed for delay," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Brault wrote the justices.

Brault's brief came hours after a lawyer for Williams, 51, urged the state Supreme Court to call off the Crips co-founder's upcoming death contending Williams should have been allowed to argue at his 1981 Los Angeles County trial that someone else killed one of his four alleged victims.

The petition, by Pasadena attorney Verna Wefald, also challenged the validity of all four of Williams' capital murder convictions. The justices days ago denied a request by Wefald to reopen the case based on allegations that shoddy forensics linked a weapon used in three of the murders to a shotgun registered to Williams.

Sunday night, after the justices denied her bid to spare Williams, Wefald filed a virtually identical petition with the San Francisco appeals court. A decision is expected Monday.

As the last-minute legal maneuvering continued, defense lawyers awaited Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision Monday on whether he would grant Williams clemency.

"We are awaiting the governor's position on clemency," Williams' clemency attorney Jonathan Harris said.