Barbara Becnel, who led the campaign to save Stanley Tookie Williams’ life, made arrangements Tuesday to receive her close friend’s body, and said she and others were planning a major public funeral for him in Los Angeles.
Becnel said the ceremony would take place in a Los Angeles church and would be on the scale of the funeral for Rosa Parks. She said details would be announced later this week.
Williams wanted to be cremated and to have his ashes spread in South Africa, Becnel said. She said she and other friends probably would gather with the family of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela to carry out his wish.
Becnel, who does not believe that Williams committed the four murders for which he was executed, said the NAACP Legal Defense Fund has promised her its resources in proving Williams’ innocence.
Becnel witnessed the execution early Tuesday.
“He suffered. He was writhing, lifting his head up and fussing” at the guards for taking so long, she said. “It was horrible. To me, it was torture. It took 35 minutes to kill him.”