Gov. Schwarzenegger opted not to step in and stop the execution of Tookie Williams. In his message (PDF file), Schwarzenegger recounted Williams' crimes and said he did not merit clemency. Earlier in the day, a panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals declined to intervene on legal grounds. Williams' execution by lethal injection is on track to begin after midnight in the converted gas chamber at San Quentin prison. The San Jose Mercury-News man in L.A. (for the day, anyway) says things on the street are calm.
* Williams dead: CNN and Fox went live from outside San Quentin during the build-up and announcement that the execution was completed, but no local stations. Furnell Chatman did break in on Channel 4 about 12:35 am to give the news. Notably, "Nightline" did a live broadcast for the West Coast with Martin Bashir that began and ended with the Tookie watch, but cut away at 12:05 just as the execution presumably was beginning. At 12:45, the pool reporters began to describe the scene for the other media and on CNN (Fox quickly went back to its spinners outside the prison.) Steve Lopez of the L.A. Times spoke first, said that Williams looked around the room a few times after being strapped down, and he noted that Williams was pronounced dead at 12:35 am. Other witnesses included Kim Curtis of AP and Brian Rooney of ABC, plus some local NorCal reporters. Rooney commented on how long the process took after Williams entered the death chamber. LAT story Tuesday 12:50 am (Later pool witnesses to speak included Michael Linder of KNX, Jenifer Warren of the LAT, Ruby Gonzales of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Eric Leonard of KFI. 1:20 am)
** The warden: No last meal other than milk, and no formal last words (though Williams did try to help the attendants find a vein in his arm.) Rita Cosby of MSNBC and some of the other pool reporters thought Williams tried to visually intimidate the witnesses, but the warden said he saw no such behavior—and attributed the observation to lack of prison familiarity.1:25 am