"Arnie is a cold-blooded killer" stated Barbara Becnel at San Quentin Prison less than an hour after Williams was pronounced dead. Becnel is the journalist whose relationship with Wiliams led to his "Redemption", his renouncement of the Crips gang and who also co-authored several books with Williams intended to help young kids avoid gangs. And it now appears that Ms. Becnel had good reason to make that statment.
Since 1973 there have been over 160 people who had been placed on death row who have been found completely innocent due to DNA evidence. The problem is that DNA isn't always available. It's quite likely that there are many more cases where the accused is in fact, an innocent man - yet they remain in jail and like the case with David Garza, they have been executed although they were innocent.
In Williams case there was no DNA, but there was an affidavid of a witness who indicated that the LA Sherriff's Dept suborned perjury and coached a witness to testify about a false escape plot by Williams from an inmate named Ogelsby.
During my incarceration with Mr. Ogelsby, I personally observed a series of events wherin Los Angeles Sherriff's department personel delivered to Mr. Ogelsby copies of documents relating to various criminal cases including Police reports relating to the prosecution of Mr. Williams, which I personally read.
In my conversations with Mr. Ogelsby he told me that he intended to use information in the reports for the purpose of testifying against Mr. Williams and others, claiming he would to this in order to gain a reduction or eliminate charges pending against him.
I specifically recall him telling me "he was gonna put that nigger away", and "that shotgun crip is gonna do the time" reffering to Williams.
On numerous occasions, I observed Mr. Ogelsby with handwritten "kites" [secret notes between inmates] that he claimed came from Mr. Williams, that he had failed to deliver and instead was using as a model to duplicate Mr. Williams handwriting. He told me he was doing this to create incriminating documents that would appear to be written by Mr. Williams.
During this time in which I was incarcerated in the Los Angeles County Jail, it was common practice in my observation for inmates to testify against other inmates in order to obtain a benefit in their own case, and I was personally aware of Los Angeles Sherriff's personnel who would provide information to these inmates so that they could help frame defendants for crimes.
Copies of this affidavit from Gordon Bradbury Von Ellerman - which is dated December 10th, 2005 and names four other possible corraberating witnesses - was delivered in a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger as well as the Supreme Court and consequently ignored.
Information similar to this was used to overturn the conviction of former Black Panther "Geronimo" Pratt. In his case the judge threw his case out after more than 27 years when it was discovered the the primary witness against him had been a Sherriff's Department informant.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Everett Dickey, a conservative Republican, ruled that Pratt's 1972 conviction on murder and kidnapping charges should be overturned because of misconduct by the Los Angeles district attorney's office, which concealed from the defense and the jury that the key witness against Pratt was a paid police informant.
This is not something that should be taken lightly. Acoording to the analysis done by the Innocence Project of first 70 DNA exonerations they have secured so far, false testinmony has been a factor in 17 of those cases, Prosecutorial Misconduct 34 times and Police Misconduct 38 times.
If indeed the Sherriff's department coached and recruited Ogelsby to perjure himself and create false evidence - exactly how can we be certain of the testimony of any of the other witnesses, all of whom were criminals and/or gang-members, let alone any other physical evidence such as the "one lone shotgun shell" that was provided by police after the Vermont Ave Murders?
Williams may indeed have been guilty, most likely IMO of the 7-11 shooting, but without a thorough investigation of the claims of witnesses such as Von Ellerman, and an examination of the tactics used by the Sherriff's Dept in 1979 - tactics which have led to the release of other convicted felons such as such as Pratt even after 27 years of incarceration - how can we ever be sure?