Nearly 27 years ago, Lora Owens' stepson, Albert, died from gunshot wounds fired by Stanley "Tookie" Williams, the infamous co-founder of the Crips gang.
Last night, she watched as the 51-year-old Williams was put to death by lethal injection at San Quentin prison in California -- his punishment for killing 26-year-old Owens and three others. Owens, a convenience-store clerk, was the father of two daughters.
Lora Owens, whose husband -- Albert's father -- died 10 years ago, was a vocal opponent to the clemency pleas made by some celebrities, including actor Jamie Foxx and rapper Snoop Dogg, and anti-death penalty activists.
"Within seconds, though Albert pleaded for his life, Williams chose to become the judge, jury and executioner of Albert, then laughed as he lay dying," Owens wrote to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who denied pleas for clemency early Tuesday.
"Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?" Schwarzenegger wrote. "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."
Having been granted her wish, Owens said she and her family could begin to find peace.
"I feel like I have done what I promised I would do and now I feel like I can put Albert and his father at rest," Owens said. Yet some of Williams' supporters have said that Owens had ulterior motives to push for Williams' death. Albert Owens' wife, Linda, released a statement that said Lora was never close to Albert and should not be speaking for the family.
Nonetheless, Lora Owens was among about 50 people who witnessed Williams' execution. It took 36 minutes, and the executioners seemed to have difficulty finding Williams' veins, said ABC News correspondent Brian Rooney.
Even Owens said she had trouble watching the convicted killer turned peace activist and children's author die.
"It was very difficult," Owens said. "I don't take pleasure in that, but I do believe that the justice system worked."
Just last week, Owens expressed anger and disgust at those who supported Williams and who petitioned to have his death sentence commuted to life in prison.
"I think the celebrities are just abusing their popularity, their access to the media," Owens said on "GMA" last Thursday. "To them, it's a script; to me, it's life."
After the execution, she seemed more tranquil and willing to forgive.
"Even a man like Tookie Williams deserved to have someone who loves him," she said.
Now, the hope is that her family can begin to heal. When Albert Owens was killed, Lora Owens said it began a long, pain-filled period in her family's lives. Soon thereafter, Albert's devastated father's health began to deteriorate. Albert's daughters grew up without a father.
It's "not quite over," Owens said. "But it's definitely on the road."