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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:11 AM
Original message
Calif. Gov. to Parole Killer Turned Priest
Calif. Gov. to Parole Killer Turned Priest
Schwarzenegger to Parole Convicted Murderer Who Became Episcopal Priest While Behind Bars

SACRAMENTO Mar 10, 2006 (AP) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to parole a convicted murderer who became an Episcopal priest while behind bars, according to a spokeswoman.

The state parole board voted last October to release James Tramel, 38, who was convicted in 1986 of killing a homeless man in Santa Barbara. Schwarzenegger, who rejected parole for Tramel a year ago, declined this time around to review his case, said Julie Soderlund, an aide to the governor. If the case is not reviewed by the governor, the parole board's decision stands.

Tramel is scheduled to be released Sunday, said the Rev. Richard Helmer, a San Francisco clergyman who coordinated a campaign for Tramel's parole.

"I feel humbled," Tramel said from Solano State Prison in Vacaville. "I feel the weight of my responsibility to justify the faith that people have put in me."
(snip/...)

http://abcnews.go.com/US/LegalCenter/wireStory?id=17085...
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. Why is this guy not on DEATH ROW?
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 06:39 AM by saigon68

ANSWER --HE WAS IN A MEMBER OF A GANG AT A PRIVATE PREP SCHOOL

lINK: http://www.gracecathedral.org/enrichment/dispatches/dis...

In the summer of 1985, Tramel was a new student at a private military preparatory academy in Santa Barbara. One balmy August night, he led a small group of classmates on a mission of vengeance. They were out to avenge the beating of friends by a gang. Tramel, he says now, was out to prove that he wouldn't back down from the gang. Tramel's group didn't find them, so sometime after midnight, he and his roommate separated from the group. It was then that Tramel's roommate encountered Michael Stephenson, a 29-year-old man, in a park. Before Tramel knew what was going on, the roommate stabbed Stephenson and cut his throat.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-parole10mar10,0...

Yates said Michael Stephenson, who supported himself with odd jobs, was setting out to backpack across the country when he stopped in Santa Barbara to see a friend and bedded down for the night in Alameda Park.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. He was convicted of second degree murder.
California doesn't have the death penalty for second degree murder.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #1
27. Don't skip over this part:
"Before Tramel knew what was going on, the roommate stabbed Stephenson and cut his throat."
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truthisfreedom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 06:32 AM
Response to Original message
2. this will THRILL the rethugs. ahhnold is showing his liberal roots.
weird, huh?
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Tempest Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. It's not going to make the Democrats feel warm and fuzzy either
It's a blatant attempt to gain favor with the Democrats.

Like putting lipstick on a pig.
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Imagine My Surprise Donating Member (938 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
5. A white, Episcopal killer turned priest -- Imagine My Surprise
If this had been a black man who had become a tongue-talkin',Pentecostal preacher while in prison, I'm thinking this would not be happening. Call me cynical.
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. You are correct
Old arnold would fry "the darkie" (repuke words)
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laylah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #6
13. Think "Tookie" n/t
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. AH YES
ARHNULD FRYS ANOTHER "black" man
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progressivebydesign Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Let's take a step further and imagine a black muslim in his shoes.
He'd never see the light of day.
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Bingo. White makes right. ... far right.
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Shakespeare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Yeah, and it was only a homeless guy he killed....
:sarcasm:
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goclark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
24. Truthful is the name I'd call you


Interesting isn't it.

Injustice in Amerika
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progressivebydesign Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
7. With God, all things are possible. Like getting away with brutal killing.
If the guy hadn't gotten religion, he'd still be behind bars. His crime was unbelievably heinous... but oh.. that old time religion.
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FredScuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-10-06 11:12 PM
Response to Original message
11. Where are all those folks dancing on Tookie Williams' grave?
Fuck the lot of 'em.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:22 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. Tramel is no Tookie Williams
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 10:30 AM by slackmaster
If you look at the facts of both cases, the crimes themselves and how the men conducted their lives in prison, I think you'll see a big difference.

I think this is good news, that Governator actually can show some compassion. It's always tempting to try to make some kind of racial issue out of every story, but you are really comparing apples to oranges.

ETA I personally don't think anyone should ever get the death penalty.
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FredScuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Enlighten me
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 10:33 AM by FredScuttle
Seems this guy committed a pretty horrific crime in his youth and turned his life around in prison too:

"Tramel was convicted of killing Michael Stephenson, 29, in an unprovoked crime that the victim's family called a "thrill killing." Tramel, who was a 17-year-old Santa Barbara prep school student at the time, was sentenced to 15 years to life for second-degree murder, as was another defendant, David Kurtzman, who stabbed Stephenson 17 times and remains incarcerated."

This stinks of a double standard, particularly considering this guy wasn't facing the death penalty. All the bloodthirst for Tookie's death seems to have dissipated into the waves and now it's "look how the nice white guy turned his life around" Color me disgusted.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Williams founded the most notorious violent street gang in California
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 10:39 AM by slackmaster
The 7-Eleven murder

Transcripts show that next Coward and Sims followed Williams and Darryl to the 7-Eleven market located at 10437 Whittier Boulevard, near Whittier, California. The store clerk, twenty-six year old Albert Lewis Owens, was sweeping the store parking lot. When Darryl and Sims entered the 7-Eleven, Owens put the broom and dustpan he was using on the hood of his car and followed them into the store. Williams and Coward followed Owens into the store.

Shotgun owned by WilliamsCourt records show that as Darryl and Sims walked to the counter area to take money from the register, Williams walked behind Owens, pulled the sawed-off shotgun from under his jacket and told Owens to shut up and keep walking. While pointing the shotgun at Owens back, Williams directed him to a back storage room and ordered him to lie down. Coward said that he next heard the sound of a round being chambered into the shotgun. He then heard a shot and glass breaking, followed by two more shots. Records show that Williams shot out a security monitor and then killed Owens, shooting him twice in the back at point blank range as he lay prone on the storage room floor.

Williams, Darryl, Coward, and Sims then fled in the two cars and returned home to Los Angeles. They had netted approximately $120 in the robbery. Once back in Los Angeles, Sims asked Williams why he had shot Owens. Williams said that he didnt want to leave any witnesses. Williams also said he killed Owens because he was white and he was killing all white people. Coward testified that Williams had bragged about the shooting, stating, You should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him, as he made gurgling or growling noises and laughed about Owens death.

The Brookhaven Motel murders

The Yang family, husband seventy-six year old Yen-Yi Yang, and wife sixty-three year old Tsai-Shai C. Yang, were immigrants from Taiwan. They ran the Brookhaven Motel located at 10411 South Vermont Avenue in South Central Los Angeles along with their forty-three year old daughter, Yu-Chin Yang Lin, and son Robert. Yu-Chin had recently joined them from Taiwan.

According to court transcripts, at approximately 5:00 am on March 11, 1979, Stanley Williams entered the Brookhaven Motel lobby and then broke down the door that led to the private office. Inside the office, Williams shot and killed Yen-Yi, Tsai-Shai, and Yu-Chin, after which he emptied the cash register and fled the scene.

Robert, asleep with his wife in their bedroom at the motel, was awakened by the sound of somebody breaking down the door to the motels office. Shortly thereafter he heard a female scream, followed by gunshots. Robert entered the motel office and found that his mother, his sister, and his father had all been shot; the cash register was empty. It was later determined that the Brookhaven incident netted Stanley Williams approximately one hundred dollars.

The forensic pathologist testified that Yen-Yi Yang suffered two close range shotgun wounds, one to his left arm and abdomen, and one to the lower left chest. Tsai-Shai also received two close range wounds, one to the tailbone, and the other to the front of the abdomen, entering at the navel. Yu-Chin Lin was shot once in the upper left face area at a distance of a few feet.

Witnesses testified that Williams referred to the victims in conversations with friends as "Buddha-heads", a derogatory term for Asians....

Prison life

Williams' mug shot from 2000.As inmate CDC# C29300 <17> Williams spent 6 1/2 years in solitary confinement in the late 1980s <18> for multiple assaults on guards and fellow inmates. <19> The following is a list of Stanley Williams prison record through 1993. According to a classification report found on page 8 of filings by his lawyers during the clemency proceedings <20>, dated August 5, 2004, Williams had no violations since that time. The prison official had observed no gang activity and complimented Williams on his behavior for the last ten years.

On June 30, 1981, just two months after being sentenced, Williams was involved in a violent fight with another inmate. Williams was observed kneeling over the other inmate and striking him in the head with his closed fists. When Williams was ordered to cease fighting, he ignored the order. Only after repeated orders did Williams stop. (P. Exh. 6).

On January 26, 1982, Williams was ordered to lineup for his return to his cell. Williams refused the order and became hostile. The guard then explained the line-up procedure to Williams. Williams responded by saying "you'll get yours boy, I can do anything now because I know what the gunmen will doone of these days I'll trick you boy." (P. Exh. 7).

On January 28, 1982, Williams had two separate instances where he threw chemical substances at guards. In one of these instances, Williams threw a chemical substance in the eyes and on the face of a guard. As a result of that assault, the guard suffered from chemical burns to these areas and had to be taken to the hospital where he received emergency care. (P. Exh. 8).

On January 29, 1982, Williams again attacked a guard by throwing a chemical substance on him. (P. Exh. 9).
On February 16, 1984, a guard saw Williams bending over another inmate and striking him with his closed fists. In an effort to stop the attack, the guard blew his whistle and drew his weapon. Williams, however, continued to fight. Only after a guard fired a warning shot did Williams stop fighting. (P. Exh. 10).

On June 8, 1984, Williams was observed participating in inappropriate behavior with a female visitor. When the guard advised the female of the prison policies, Williams became verbally hostile and stated, "you are looking around too much and that's not your job. I have dusted many officers on the street, one more would not make any difference." (P. Exh. 11).

On July 4, 1986, Williams stepped between a guard and another inmate and began to beat up the inmate. The guard ordered Williams to stop but Williams continued with the assault. Eventually, after gun officers responded, Williams stopped the attack. (P. Exh. 12).
On October 10, 1988, Williams was involved in a fight that led to him being stabbed by Tiequon Aundray Cox (aka Lil Fee), a Rolling 60s Crips member, and fellow death row inmate. Prison officials subsequently learned that this stabbing was done in retaliation for a September 22, 1988 stabbing of another inmate ordered by Williams. (P. Exh. 13).

On October 19, 1988, Williams was placed in Administrative Segregation based on his association with the Crips street gang. (P. Exh. 13).

On December 24, 1991, Williams was involved in another fight with an inmate. Once again, despite being ordered to stop, Williams continued with the assault. Eventually, gun officers responded by firing a round near Williams. After the shot was fired, guards gained control over Williams. (P. Exh. 14).

On July 6, 1993, a large fight broke out in the shower area. Williams was one of the combatants. A guard ordered the inmates to stop, but the fight continued. After a warning shot was fired, the fighting stopped. Subsequently, a stabbing instrument ("shank") made of sharpened plastic was recovered from where the fight had occurred. (P. Exh. 15).

Though the prison guards noted that he still remained a member of the Crips gang, "The violations are usually involving batteries on inmates, batteries on staff. But we have also received information that has identified him as an active member of the Crips," Crittendon said.

"The particular set is known as the Blue Note Crips, and that information we have received since his arrival here in April 1981 and as recent as June of 2000," Crittendon said....


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Williams

James Tramel murdered one person. It was a horrible crime, but it happened in his youth and he was by all accounts a model prisoner. If the two look comparable to you, I'm afraid you and I are never going to find common ground here.
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FredScuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. I'm not going to retry the Tookie Williams' case
My question remains....why are you excusing this man (Tramel) from the "thrill killing" of a homeless man? Why does that not engender the same level of disgust and outrage that Tookie's horrific crimes do? Is it a question of volume? This guy gets a pass because he only committed one psychotic murder? Or that he cleaned up faster in prison?

You're right....common ground between us is a pipe dream.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. I didn't excuse anyone from anything
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 10:48 AM by slackmaster
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger granted parole to a prisoner. It was not my decision to make.

If I were Governor would I have done the same? No, I think I probably would have commuted his sentence to life.

Why does that not engender the same level of disgust and outrage that Tookie's horrific crimes do? Is it a question of volume?

Essentially yes; the gang that Williams founded has been terrorizing and murdering people in my state for decades. Williams' supposed reforms while in prison were too little and too late for me to take them as sincere.

This guy gets a pass because he only committed one psychotic murder? Or that he cleaned up faster in prison?

You'll have to direct that question to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

You're right....common ground between us is a pipe dream.

Only because you refuse to listen to what I am actually saying. :P
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FredScuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. I heard you clear as a bell
I'm comparing "apples and oranges"....a white murderer gets parole and the Gropenator won't lift a finger because this guy's a priest while a black murderer gets Arnie's signature on his death warrant.

So Tookie's efforts at reform aren't sincere, but Father Knifefight is A-OK? Wonderful...
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. I'm just looking at all the available information
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 10:56 AM by slackmaster
I think you should too. It appears to me that all you are considering is skin color.

Once again, I would have commuted Tramel's sentence to life. I would have done the same for Tookie Williams.
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FredScuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. I'm not debating the Tookie Williams case with you
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 11:00 AM by FredScuttle
I'm arguing about the double standard that is applied to white and black criminals. You doubt the sincerity of Tookie's efforts on Death Row in the last 10 years of his life, as is your prerogative, but you give a pass to Father Knifefight. I'm not doubting the good works Father Knifefight has done in incarceration, but I'm not willing to let him see daylight simply because he dresses better and has a collar around his neck. Let him perform his good works in prison and minister to the truly needy.


On edit - you would have commuted his sentence to life? He wasn't on Death Row. Plus, why did you say in your first post that his release was "good news"?
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. The two cases are not comparable for that purpose
Edited on Sat Mar-11-06 11:33 AM by slackmaster
Tramel wasn't even facing the death penalty. He was convicted of a lesser crime. Williams was convicted of multiple first-degree murders. Williams' last hearing was for clemency, not parole.

You doubt the sincerity of Tookie's efforts on Death Row in the last 10 years of his life, as is your prerogative, but you give a pass to Father Knifefight.

I thought we weren't going to retry the Williams case here, and once again I didn't give ANYONE a pass. Schwarzenegger did that, and I haven't ever said I would do the same if I were Governor. I doubt very much that I would have granted parole to Tramel.

On edit - you would have commuted his sentence to life? He wasn't on Death Row.

I meant to say "If Tramel was facing the death penalty..."

Plus, why did you say in your first post that his release was "good news"?

It's good that Shwarzenegger isn't on the "hang 'em high" side of every case. I don't agree with his decision, but this shows that he is capable of some flexibility.

Politically I believe this parole is risky for Schwarzenegger. As with all politicians I suspect a political motive behind every move he makes. If he was trying to appease white Christians this could just as easily backfire on him for being "soft on crime".

If you really want to look at how race affects how the justice system treats people, you need to look at pairs of cases in which the crimes and behavior behind bars are similar. Then analyze how skin color affects sentencing and hearings for parole or clemency. This pair of cases IMO does not meet that requirement.
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politicat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
12. No class warfare in California....
White? Check.

Private School education? Check.

Well connected, rich church connections? Check.

Wealthy background? Check.

I can't even begin to say how disgusted I am that this is happening.

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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 12:30 PM
Response to Original message
25. 38 years old and out of prison.
Where is the justice? Murderers need to be put away for life. :mad:

Oh, it was only a homeless person he murdered. No big deal :sarcasm:

Plus he's a good Christian; How odd for a convict to "find Jesus" behind bars !

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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-11-06 01:32 PM
Response to Original message
26. straight from sinner to priest?
Sounds about right. No restitution, pennance, just becomes the Voice Of God. My breakfast just turned :puke:
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