LATEST: Former gang leader STANLEY 'TOOKIE' WILLIAMS has been put to death by lethal injection after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger denied him a last minute reprieve.

The 51-year-old, who preached non-violence from his death row cell, was executed for the murder of four people during two robberies in 1979.

His death was announced at 12:35 am (local time) at San Quentin State Prison, outside San Francisco, despite desperate pleas for clemency from a string of high-profile sympathisers including actor Jamie Foxx and hip-hop star Snoop Dogg.

On 30 November (05), the pair teamed up to stage a special rally in Los Angeles in a bid to highlight his plight, maintaining that Williams' Nobel Peace Prize nominations for his work to prevent young people from forming gangs should exonerate him of previous offences.

But Schwarzenegger yesterday (12DEC05) refused to overturn the controversial death sentence saying, "Clemency cases are always difficult and this one is no exception. After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency.

"The facts do not justify overturning the jury's verdict or the decisions of the courts in this case."

Human rights activist Jesse Jackson who met with Williams after the decision for 25 minutes, said the condemned man was prepared for his fate.

Jackson says, "He had a sense of inner peace. He has been in the valleys and channels of death before. He did not fear evil."

Williams was the 12th prisoner to be executed in California since capital punishment was reinstated in 1978.