The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) today (Feb. 27) named John Simerman of the Contra Costa Times the winner of the Jesse Laventhol Prize for Deadline News Reporting by an Individual for his account of the execution of Stanley “Tookie” Williams. It was the Bay Area’s only ASNE award this year. The prize carries a $10,000 cash award given in memory of a former Philadelphia news excutive, Jesse Laventhol. In a story last December, Simerman described the condemned man’s reactions as he awaited death in the soundproof chamber: “As the drugs began to course through his veins, Williams lifted his head. He held it there, tilted slightly left. It fell back and he raised it again, refusing to lay still. His breathing hitched. His stomach convulsed, lurching upward. Light shone across his damp temples.”

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