Celebrities and activists have rallied around death-row inmate "Tookie" Williams -- a murderer and former gang member who was nominated by his supporters for the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison -- but the stepmother of one of his victims believes Williams should not be saved from his execution scheduled for Tuesday.
"I think he [Williams] is the same cold-blooded killer that he was then and he would be now if he had the opportunity again," said Lora Owens whose stepson, Albert, was killed by Williams during a convenience store robbery 26 years ago.
"Albert was a young man that was so full of life," Owens said. "He had an infectious laugh. His eyes would sparkle. He was just full of energy and he had the concept that if you wanted to do anything, you just had to work for it."
Albert Owens was 26 and working as a 7-Eleven clerk when he was shot twice in the back on Feb. 27, 1979. Williams was convicted of the murder as well as the murders of three others in a separate robbery in 1979, and sentenced to death. He has been on death row since 1981.
In prison, Williams has written nine books warning children and teenagers about the danger of gang life, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize fives times and for the Nobel Prize for literature once. Several celebrities, including actor Jamie Foxx and rapper Snoop Dog, have rallied behind Williams, but Owens believes Williams still deserves to die.
"I think the celebrities are just abusing their popularity, their access to the media," Owens said. "To them it's a script; to me, it's life."
Owens said she was also frustrated by the anti-death penalty activists who are lobbying for Williams' life.
"If there is a controversy against the death penalty, then they need to go to the legislature and work to get it changed, but don't stand behind a killer like Williams because then they don't care what he did," she said. "It could have been your child instead of our child."
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to review Williams' case today in a closed-door clemency hearing. If Williams' sentence is not commuted to life in prison, Owens says she plans to attend the execution.
"It's not going to be an easy thing," Owens said. "I don't celebrate this man's death, but I believe Albert expects it and I will be there for my son."