An acquaintance described him sitting at a table, handcuffed, next to untouched turkey sandwiches, bidding goodbye to friends in an ordinary, everyday manner.
A prison spokesman said Williams was calm and upbeat, though he ate nothing but oatmeal and milk all day, refusing the privilege of a special last meal. Williams also declined a spiritual advisor.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he met twice with Williams, and together with Becnel delivered the news that the governor had denied clemency.
Williams smiled "as if he expected it," Jackson said. He said Williams again denied his guilt, and said that he thought "his baggage as a Crip was on trial more than for the four murders."
In recent statements, Williams had expressed a philosophical attitude about his own death. Fred Jackson, 67, who works with Internet Project for Street Peace, Williams gang intervention project, said the inmate struck that tone in a phone conference with an Oakland support group Sunday. "He said he doesnt fear death — he doesnt fear what he does not know," Jackson said.
At 6 p.m., Williams was strip-searched, given a set of clean clothes and placed in a holding cell steps from the death chamber under nonstop observation by a sergeant and two officers.
Officials said he spent the evening watching TV and reading some of the roughly 50 letters that arrived Monday from as far as Italy and Israel — including some from schoolchildren. Many of them said they were praying for him.
Nearby, the injection team began its final preparations in the prisons converted gas chamber, ensuring that the required needles, tubes and chemicals were in place.
Williams son, Stanley Williams Jr., who is in High Desert State Prison serving a 16-year sentence for second-degree murder, will be notified in person of his fathers death by a chaplain and mental health specialist, prison officials said.
The younger Williams is in isolation for disciplinary problems, and would not normally have access to any news source.
Five members of the murder victims families were at the prison, although it was not clear how many witnessed the execution. Williams, who earlier said he didnt want to invite anyone to observe "the sick and perverted spectacle," had five witnesses, including Becnel and members of his legal team.
Officials designated a total of 39 witnesses, including 17 media representatives.
Lora Owens said she did not expect the execution to end the ache over losing her red-haired stepson, Albert, who was killed with a shotgun at the age of 26 while working at a Pico Rivera 7-Eleven late one February night in 1979. But watching the killer take his last breath, she said, might help her "let it go" just a bit.
Advocates for clemency had argued that Williams had unmatched credibility as a messenger urging youths to say no to gangs.
But law enforcement officials and victims rights leaders portrayed Williams as a fraud whose influence on would-be gangsters was overblown.
Prosecutors said the absence of a confession, and Williams refusal to formally cut ties with the Crips by sharing his knowledge of gang tactics with police, disproved his claim of rehabilitation.
"What kind of message does that send to young children, when somebody like Mr. Williams, who supposedly has their attention, tells them, Dont snitch, dont talk to police, dont tell people who was involved in a crime?." said John Monaghan, a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney.
As Schwarzenegger weighed his decision, attorneys for Williams spent the weekend hunting for a court that might issue a stay.
On Sunday, the state Supreme Court turned back arguments that his trial was "fundamentally unfair" in part because prosecutors had failed to disclose that a key witness, Alfred Coward, was a violent ex-felon. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and finally the U.S. Supreme Court followed suit Monday.