Late comedian RICHARD PRYOR strongly opposed the execution of former gang leader STANLEY 'TOOKIE' WILLIAMS, who was put to death yesterday morning (13DEC05).

Although Pryor died of a heart attack on Saturday (10DEC05) - three days before Williams' execution - and his widow JENNIFER says he was eager for the founder of the notorious Crips gang, convicted of killing four people, to be granted clemency.

In an interview last night (12DEC05) with US newsman Larry King, conducted hours before Williams was executed, Jennifer made a last-minute plea on her late husband's behalf.

She said, "Richard would like me to say to everybody it's wrong to kill this man. He needs a stay (of execution)... Let this man have his stay and investigate the case. Give it 30 days to investigate. Richard would want me to say that."

California Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER - Williams' only hope after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal - refused to overturn the death sentence explaining, "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."