Wednesday, December 17, 2008

William's Will Contested

From the Marin Independent Journal

The son of Stanley Tookie Williams is contesting his father's will, claiming it was signed two days before his execution at San Quentin State Prison and its beneficiary probably had a hand in its creation.

Travon Williams, 33, says the executor of his father's estate was a business partner who had the will drafted and says it should be ruled invalid.

It was unclear what the estate may be worth, although Tookie Williams wrote children's books denouncing gang violence that prompted four Nobel Prize nominations.

The executor, Barbara Becnel, 56, of Richmond is the sole beneficiary of the disputed will.

Travon Williams says the will does not reflect his father's intentions and wants the will set aside.

Becnel will fight Travon Williams' efforts.

Becnel became a business partner with Tookie Williams in the mid-1990s as a co-author and editor of his books.

Becnel is quoted as saying,

"I stood by Stan's side for 13 years, fighting to support his work, his innocence and his life," Becnel said. "I will continue to fight, this time to support his honor, his legacy and his desires."

Becnel's attorney, Melvin Honowitz, said the objection to the petition for probate is ludicrous.

Tookie Williams was a founder of the Crips street gang in South Central Los Angeles. He was convicted of four murders in 1981 and sentenced to death.

He was a rebellious prisoner until he turned his life around in the 1990s, denouncing gangs and writing children's books to advocate alternatives to street crime.

He was nominated four years in a row for the Nobel Peace Prize, beginning in 2001. He was executed Dec. 13, 2005, despite calls for clemency by anti-death penalty advocates and a campaign based on his redemption that was spearheaded by Becnel.

In his objection to the petition for probate, Travon Williams said his father is survived by his mother, two sons, a sister and grandchildren.

Stacie Nelson, Travon Williams' attorney, said she does not know the value of Stanley Williams' estate.

"The executor has possession of Mr. Williams' assets," Nelson said.

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