The Crimes of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams - The Brookhaven Murders

The Brookhaven Robbery-Murders of the Yang Family

Blue Rage, Black Redemption

On March 11, 1979, Stanley 'Tookie' Williams murdered three members of the Yang family at their motel in Los Angeles. Here are the details of that crime from the The Los Angeles County District Attorney's response to Williams petition for executive clemency.

The Murders of the Yang Family

  • At approximately 5:00 a.m. on March 11, 1979, Stanley Williams entered the Brookhaven Motel at 10411 South Vermont Avenue. (Trial Ttranscript (TT) 1411). After entering the public lobby area, Williams broke down the door that led to the private office.
  • Once inside the private office, Williams, using his shotgun, killed 76-year-old Yen-I Yang; Williams also killed Yang's wife, 62-year-old Tsai-Shai Yang; lastly, Williams killed Yang's daughter, 43-year-old Yee-Chen Lin. Williams then removed the currency from the cash register and fled the location. (TT 1406-1442, 1562-1563, 1677-1720, 1915-1927).
  • Robert Yang was asleep with his wife in their bedroom at the Brookhaven Motel when he was awakened by the sound of somebody breaking down the door to the motel's office. This sound was immediately followed by the sound of his mother or sister screaming, followed by gun shots. (TT 1409, 1411, 1433).

Son Finds Family Shot

  • When Robert entered the motel office he found his mother, his sister, and his father had all been shot. (TT 1412-1413). Robert observed that the cash register was open and money was missing. (TT 1414). It was later determined that the robbery of the Brookhaven Motel and the murder of the three members of the Yang family netted Stanley Williams approximately $100.
  • Robert Yang called 9-1-1. Two deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department arrived within approximately ten minutes. (TT 1416). When the deputies entered the motel they noticed a strong odor of gun powder. (TT 1500). The deputies observed that the door leading from the public entrance into Yang's private living quarters had been forced open and the doorjamb was split open and the woodwork was torn away from the doorjamb. (TT 1508).

    Gasping For Air

    • As they entered, they saw Yen-I Yang lying on a sofa. He was "soaked with blood," "gasping for air, and making gurgling noises." (TT 1501). They also saw the bloodied body of Tsai-Shai Yang. She was making "gurgling noises" and "gasping for air," with "her knees drawn up under her, and her face down on the floor," as if she had been forced to bow down before being killed. (TT 1502). Lastly, the deputies found the body of Yee-Chen Lin lying on the hallway floor.
    • According to the forensic pathologist, Yen-I Yang suffered two shotgun wounds. One shotgun wound was to his left arm and abdomen. This wound shredded Yen-I's left arm, fractured his ribs, and shattered his spleen, right kidney, bowel and large vessels. The other shotgun wound was to the lower left chest. This wound also fractured ribs and shattered the spleen, right kidney, bowel and large vessels.

    Evidence Found at Scene

    • Moreover, a plastic shotgun shot container and associated wadding were recovered from the base of Yen-I's liver. The pathologist further explained that both of the Yen-I Yang's wounds were inflicted when the end of the muzzle was only feet from Yen-I's body. Despite the severity of these wounds, Yen-I clung to life. He was transported from the scene by paramedics to Daniel Freeman Hospital where he died at 6:53 a.m.
    • Yee-Chen Lin was shot once in the upper left face area at a distance of a few feet. Despite the truly horrific nature of the wound Stanley Williams inflicted upon her, Yee-Chen also clung to life. She was transported from the scene by paramedics to Centinela Hospital where she died at 7:36 a.m.

    Shot at Close Range

    • Tsai-Shai was shot twice at close range. The pathologist explained that one shotgun wound was to the coccyx or tail bone. Based on the physical characteristics of the wound and the fact that wadding, along with the plastic shot container, were recovered just beneath the skin of this wound, the muzzle of the gun must have been just inches from her body when she was shot and killed. (TT 1453).
    • The other shotgun wound was to the anterior abdomen with the charge entering at the naval. At trial, the pathologist testified that the muzzle of the gun was a few feet from Tsai-Shai's body when the shot that caused this wound was fired. (TT 1454).

      Next: The Firearm Evidence