News Releases


The execution of Keith Daniel Williams is scheduled for Friday, May 3, 1996 at San Quentin State Prison. Williams was convicted of murdering three people in Merced County in 1978. He was sentenced to death in April 1979 and has been on California’s death row since then.

The California Department of Corrections Communications Office in Sacramento is making arrangements for all media credentials. Contact with San Quentin is not necessary.

This advisory covers media access to prison grounds. The deadline for submittals is Tuesday, April 23, 1996. Up to one hundred twenty-five (125) news media representatives will be admitted to the media center on prison grounds to attend news briefings and a news conference after the execution. Up to seventeen (17) news media representatives will witness the execution as a pool for all media.

Please, no phone calls about selections. You will be notified if there are any problems with your submittal. A list of approved names will be distributed to all media a few days before the scheduled execution.


The Radio Television News Director’s Association of Northern California (RTNDA) and the Radio Television News Association in Southern California (RTNA) are responsible for the selection of broadcasters to witness the execution. There are positions for four (4) television and four (4) radio stations. The criteria includes provisions for a selection balance between northern and southern California, that the television stations selections include representation from ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC news networks, and that one radio and one television be from the county where the crime was committed. The RTNDA contact is Darryl Compton, 415-341-9978. The RTNA contact is Carolyn Fox, 818-986-8168.

The newspaper selection criteria specify a media witness position for the daily newspaper of record with the largest circulation in the county where the crime occurred (i.e. Merced) as well as the largest newspapers in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco Bay, and Sacramento. Those newspapers are the: Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sacramento Bee. Two positions will be chosen at random from California daily newspapers of record with 100,000 circulation and above that have applied for credentials by April 23.


To accommodate as many media firms as possible, each news media organization applying will be limited to one reporter. Firms selected to send a representative to witness the execution will be allowed a separate reporter for the media center.

In anticipation that interest will exceed space, pool arrangements will be necessary for video/audio feeds, and still photos. The pool will be limited to two television camera operators, two still photographers, and one audio engineer.

Broadcast microwave and satellite vans and their support personnel will be permitted in a parking lot adjacent to the IST building. Space is limited to about 30 vehicles. Priority will be given to those sending “live” reports serving LA and Bay area media and multiple stations statewide. Television vans will be allowed up to four (4) support personnel (engineer, producer, talent, and camera operator) in addition to the reporter for the media center. Radio broadcast vans will be allowed three (3) support personnel (engineer, producer, and talent) in addition to the media center reporter.

To be considered, send written notification signed by the news department manager on company letterhead with the names of the proposed representatives, their dates of birth, driver’s license numbers, social security numbers and size of vehicle (for broadcast van access) to:

CDC Communications
1515 S Street, Room 113-S
P.O. Box 942883
Sacramento, CA 94283-0001

Fax or telephone requests will not be accepted. All requests must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23. Given the time needed for security clearances and access permits for this number of people which have to be completed, requests received after April 23, including personnel substitutions, will be processed only if time permits and after the initial requests are completed. No assurances can be provided that the processing for late requests will be completed by May 3. Requests that include the names of more than the allotted number of representatives will be returned without processing.

The building being used for the media center has 60 amp electrical service with a limited number of outlets. There are seven (7) pay telephones. The media pool will be responsible for providing a generator for electrical power and for any special telephone provisions. Media orders for private telephone hookups must be arranged in advance with Pacific Telephone which will coordinate installation with San Quentin.