Based on the cumulative weight of the evidence, there is no reason to second guess the jury’s decision of guilt or raise significant doubts or serious reservations about Williams’ convictions and death sentence. He murdered Albert Owens and Yen-I Yang, Yee-Chen Lin and Tsai-Shai Lin in cold blood in two separate incidents that were just weeks apart.
But Williams claims that he is particularly deserving of clemency because he has reformed and been redeemed for his violent past. Williams’ claim of redemption triggers an inquiry into his atonement for all his transgressions. Williams protests that he has no reason to apologize for these murders because he did not commit them. But he is guilty and a close look at Williams’ post-arrest and postconviction conduct tells a story that is different from redemption.
Could Williams have spared himself by taking responsibility for the murders? Or would the Governor had come up with a different reason for denying his clemency petition? The debate over Tookie Williams' fate has centered around his failure to accept responsibility for the murders. It seems that accepting responsibility would have taken a sharp arrow from the government's quiver. Indeed, in the memo the Governor (or one of his staff members) writes:
Is Williams’ redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise? Stanley Williams insists he is innocent, and that he will not and should not apologize or otherwise atone for the murders of the four victims in this case. Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings there can be no redemption. In this case, the one thing that would be the clearest indication of complete remorse and full redemption is the one thing Williams will not do.