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Issue Date:  December 23, 2005


California prison officials executed Stanley “Tookie” Williams, 51, just after midnight Dec. 13. The ex-leader of the Crips gang was convicted of brutally killing four people in 1979. In his years in prison, Williams and his supporters said, he had found redemption and became an antiviolence crusader and author of children’s books.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a last-minute stay. Earlier Dec. 13, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had rejected Williams’ request for clemency, saying he saw no need to second-guess the many court decisions already rendered in the case. Schwarzenegger also questioned the death row inmate’s claims of atonement.

Williams was the 1,003rd prisoner executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.

NCR last reported the names of the people executed in the United States in early May. Since then, 37 more people have been put to death.

Vernon Brown, 51, was executed in Missouri May 17. Bryan Wolfe, 44, was executed in Texas May 18. Richard Cartwright, 31, was executed in Texas May 19. Gregory Scott Johnson, 40, was executed in Indiana May 25. Jerry Paul Henderson, 58, was executed in Alabama June 2. Alexander Martinez, 28, was executed in Texas June 7.

Robert Dale Conklin, 44, was executed in Georgia July 12. Michael L. Pennington, 37, was executed in Oklahoma July 19. Kevin Conner, 38, was executed in Indiana July 27. David Martinez, 29, was executed in Texas July 28.

George Sibley, 62, was executed in Alabama Aug. 4. Gary Sterling, 38, was executed in Texas Aug. 10. Kenneth Eugene Turrentine, 52, was executed in Oklahoma Aug. 11. Robert Alan Shields, 30, was executed in Texas Aug. 23. Timothy Johnston, 44, was executed in Missouri Aug. 31.

Frances Newton, 40, was executed in Texas Sept. 14. John W. Peoples Jr., 48, was executed in Alabama Sept. 22. Herman Dale Ashworth, 32, was executed in Ohio Sept. 27. Alan Matheney, 54, was executed in Indiana Sept. 28.

Ronald Ray Howard, 32, was executed in Texas Oct. 6. Luis Ramirez, 42, was executed in Texas Oct. 20. William Williams Jr., 48, was executed in Ohio Oct. 25. Marlin Gray, 38, was executed in Missouri Oct. 26.

Melvin White, 55, was executed in Texas Nov. 3. Brian Steckel, 36, was executed in Delaware Nov. 4. Arthur Hastings Wise, 51, was executed in South Carolina Nov. 4. Charles Thacker, 38, was executed in Texas Nov. 9. Steven Van McHone, 35, was executed in North Carolina Nov. 11. Robert Rowell, 50, was executed in Texas Nov. 15. Shannon Thomas, 34, was executed in Texas Nov. 16. Elias Hanna Syriani, 67, was executed in North Carolina Nov. 18. Eric Randall Nance, 45, was executed in Arkansas Nov. 28. John R. Hicks, 49, was executed in Ohio Nov. 29.

Kenneth Lee Boyd, 57, was executed in North Carolina Dec. 2. Shawn Humphries, 33, was executed in South Carolina Dec. 2. Wesley E. Baker, 47, was executed in Maryland Dec. 5. Stanley Williams, 51, was executed in California Dec. 12.

We ask prayers for the victims of the crimes that may have been committed by those listed here, for those executed and for those participating in the execution done in our names.

Learn more about the death penalty and organizations working to abolish it at the Death Penalty Information Center on the Web at

National Catholic Reporter, December 23, 2005

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