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Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San Quentin

Executions are planned, down to the smallest detail. Barring a clemency grant or last-minute stay, Stanley "Tookie" Williams will be executed Monday night (12:01 am Tuesday, Pacific time.)

The LA Times today recaps the major major provisions of San Quentin Operational Procedure No. 770, which is 43 pages in length.

The death chamber will be equipped with 12 rolls of adhesive tape, 20 syringes, 10 needles, 15 tubes of varying sizes, four bags of saline solution, scissors, six tourniquets, two boxes of surgical gloves and one box each of surgical masks and alcohol wipes. There will be handcuffs and leg irons. Nothing is left to chance.

As for Tookie:

On Monday, an escort team will strip-search and shackle the prisoner in his cell. Then "the inmate, wearing only underwear, is escorted to the holding cell, where he is retained pending an unclothed body search, which includes a metal detector scan," says Procedure 770.

The prisoner receives new clothes: undershirt, shorts, socks, blue jeans, blue shirt and canvas slippers. Once clothed and placed back in restraints, the inmate is walked to the elevator and rides down six tiers, to the death-watch cell.

The cell has a bed and mattress, blanket, pillow, heater, radio, television, three sets of state-issued clothes, towels and a chess and checkers set. A lieutenant will tell the inmate that dinner is served at 6 p.m., and introduces the sergeant and two officers who will stand watch throughout Monday evening.

Valium or another relaxant will be available if the inmate requests it and health authorities approve. The condemned inmate is also allowed "reasonable last requests," including special food and a choice of radio or television programs. Some inmates refuse last meals; Williams had not ordered one as of Friday.

As for the execution itself:

Williams will walk to the death chamber once witnesses are in place. The execution team will strap him to a gurney and connect him intravenously to two bags of saline solution. No member of the San Quentin staff may address team members by name or ask them anything that would require an oral response.

After a final time check, Warden Steven Ornoski will order that the flow of saline cease and be replaced with lethal agents: first, the sedative sodium pentothal, then potassium chloride to paralyze Williams and, finally, pancuronium bromide to stop his heart.

The identity of the person who has inserted the poison will not be revealed. The infusion will continue until the prison doctor pronounces Williams dead. The execution chamber will be shut with a curtain. "The body shall be removed with care and dignity and placed in a body bag," says Procedure 770. "The chamber should then be cleaned thoroughly."

This is nothing but state-sanctioned murder. It shows just how unenlightened we are as a nation and a civilization. We should all hang our heads in shame that we allow these killings.

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  • I agree. A great and good nation does not resort to barbaric "punishments," even when meted out against barbarians.

    What possible "good" comes from murdering people, state-sanctioned or otherwise? There is no good. This is frustratingly gruesome and truly immoral. What do you suppose the "alcohol wipes" are for? To sterilize the needle-insertion point? Ha ha ha. Jeebus. And the "surgical masks"? "Surgical gloves"? So as not to contaminate the needle insertion point? These people are freaks or trying to immitate the "precision" of Nazi murderers. Horrible. What a crude and uncivilized nation we live in.

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:51 PM EST
    it's nice to know they are concerned enough to want to avoid infection at the insertion points (alcohol swabs), though i doubt a malpractice suit is in the wings. one thing i've always been confused by: how do they decide what time this all occurs? it seems to be different, not only in every state, but for each individual. if the idea is to deter others from committing similar acts, having it at 2am, or 12am, etc. would seem to negate that, since most people are going to be in bed at those times. any ideas on this?

    DP sucks, but I'm not sure why this one is more important than the others. All this hoopla provides is an opportunity for Schwarzenegger to display gravitas as he goes through the public display of wrestling with the big questions. Just like his precursor, George W. "his lips pursed in mock desperation, whimpered 'please don't kill me'" Bush with the Gary Graham execution. The coverage Bush got during the Graham episode was fawning to the point of obscenity, though of course we're used to it now. Five bucks says the Gropenator offs the crip, but makes a big deal about how painful the decision was.

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#5)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:51 PM EST
    The death chamber will be equipped with 12 rolls of adhesive tape, 20 syringes, 10 needles, 15 tubes of varying sizes, four bags of saline solution, scissors, six tourniquets, two boxes of surgical gloves and one box each of surgical masks and alcohol wipes.
    LADY MACBETH. What, will these hands ne'er be clean? No more o' that, my lord, no more o' that: you mar all with this starting.

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#6)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:51 PM EST
    "All life is precious" GW Bush What does that mean exactly? The victims are dead. Their families are irreversibly scarred. The killer is behind bars for the rest of his life. Facts prove that executions do not deter murder. If Tookie Williams is executed it would not change any of that, and would be a violation of the ten commandments for sure, and IMHO the Constitution of the United States, and the Geneva Convention. It's just not common sense for an intelligent society.

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:51 PM EST
    The death chamber will be equipped with 12 rolls of adhesive tape, 20 syringes... [etc.etc.etc]... surgical masks and alcohol wipes.
    This sounds like choreographing a setting that will create the same type of behavior and mindset that a 'medical procedure' would, so that the people in attendance and 'executing' the execution are able to distance themselves emotionally from the reality of what they are doing.

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#8)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:51 PM EST
    Once more, with feeling, for all our faux-Christians: WWJD?

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:51 PM EST
    To those who would support CP, I would ask: Why? What is your real motive for such a desire? How does it benefit you?

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#10)
    by demohypocrates on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:51 PM EST
    I am against the death penalty. It violates most every fundamental principle I have learned from the Church. But when it comes right down to it, I cannot expend the effort to defend maggots like this. I'll admit I am torn, but have to say that.. his execution is wrong... but I cant muster the strength to oppose it...

    I suspect the death penalty helps the family of victims bring closure. I am convinced we've executed innocent people.

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:52 PM EST
    Leonel Torres Herrera was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1982 murders of two police officers. New evidence was brought forward which proved that Herrera's brother committed the murders. By Texas law, which states that any new evidence must be presented within 30 days of the conviction, this new revelation was irrelevant. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Texas ruling, arguing that Herrera's claim of "actual innocence" was in itself not a constitutional claim for which judicial relief could be granted. Thus, though the court agreed he was innocent, Leonel was executed on May 12, 1993.
    Leonel Herrera's final statement before he died was: "I am innocent, innocent, innocent. Make no mistake about this; I owe society nothing. Continue the struggle for human rights, helping those who are innocent, especially Mr. Graham. I am an innocent man, and something very wrong is taking place tonight. May God bless you all. I am ready."

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:52 PM EST
    Demo wrote, I cannot expend the effort to defend maggots like this. Jesus did. And you ARE defending him by opposing the death penalty, tho only in spirit. One must practice what we preach, so I'd urge you to sign a petition or send a letter. Your geunine inner conflict on the issue, and your ultimate opposition, are the kind of opinion our leaders/representatives need to hear. It helps them get a keener sense of the real range of voices opposing capital punishment.

    Re: Death Preparations Underway For Tookie at San (none / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:53 PM EST
    Demohypocrates:
    I am against the death penalty. It violates most every fundamental principle I have learned... but I cant muster the strength to oppose it...
    This is where, admittedly, it gets tough ... do I let my emotions and desire for revenge drive me... or do I live my principles? Painful choice...