At the time, Allen was in prison, convicted of the 1974 murder of Mary Sue Kitts. California did not have a death penalty statute at that time. Kitts, a girlfriend of Allen's son, Kenneth, was found strangled after telling the owners of a Fresno market that Allen's gang had burglarized their business. Schletewitz was the son of the store owners and had testified against Allen in the Kitts case.
According to prosecutors, Allen, who was seeking a retrial in the Kitts case, paid Hamilton to kill Schletewitz and other potential witnesses. According to testimony, Hamilton went to the store, Fran's Market, with a sawed-off shotgun, ordered Schletewitz and three other store employees to lie on the floor and then shot all four. One employee, Joe Rios, was shot in the face but survived and testified at the trial.
Hamilton was arrested during a liquor store robbery a week after the murders. When he was captured, police found that he had the names and addresses of seven others Allen wanted killed.
Hamilton also was sentenced to death and is still on death row. Kenneth Allen, who provided the shotgun to Hamilton, was given a life term for his role in the crime, as was his girlfriend Connie Barbo.
After the Supreme Court turned Allen down, Deputy Atty. Gen. Ward Campbell, who prosecuted him, noted that "every court has now rejected all of Allen's claims."
"Allen deserves capital punishment because he was already serving a life sentence for murder when he masterminded the murders of three innocent young people and conspired to attack the heart of our criminal justice system," Campbell said.
Anti-death-penalty activists Monday distributed excerpts from an interview that Michael Kroll, a founding director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C., had done with Allen, in which he asked if the condemned man was willing to express remorse for the killings.
According to Kroll, Allen responded that he was "terribly sorry for all that happened. But I can never express remorse for this crime because I didn't do it."
"I hope to meet the victims in the afterlife and explain to them I never plotted to harm them, and I never wanted them to be harmed," he added.
Although Kroll repeated Allen's claims of innocence, other protesters expressed opposition to all executions.
Lyle Grosjean, 72, a retired Episcopal priest who was one of the marchers Monday, said he had participated in virtually identical marches from the Legion of Honor to San Quentin for every execution in California in the last 46 years, starting with the 1960 gassing of Caryl Chessman, the rapist who gained fame through his death row writings.
"We do it every time. We believe that there is a need to have a witness against the death penalty on the eve of every execution regardless of the person or the crime or the victims," Grosjean said in a telephone interview as he marched Monday. "We believe murder is wrong and [the] execution of murderers is just as wrong."
Outside the prison, a San Quentin spokesman, Lt. Vernell Crittendon, told reporters that Allen had been "surprisingly upbeat."
"He is at peace with this process that's about to unfold in the next few hours," Crittendon said Monday night.
In the last few days, Allen was visited by friends, family and supporters, and "he has insisted that they don't engage in sobbing or crying," Crittendon said.
Allen had a last meal of buffalo steak, a bucket of KFC white-meat-only chicken, sugar-free pecan pie, sugar-free black walnut ice cream and whole milk.
At 6 p.m., Allen was moved to the death-watch cell and met with a Native American spiritual advisor. Crittendon said Allen would be allowed to carry several Native American religious artifacts with him at the time of his death, including a headband and a neck piece known as a "stairway to heaven."
Allen, whose mother is part Choctaw and father is part Cherokee, "professed to be a Native American since about 1988," Crittendon said.
Kroll said Allen had told him that when the time came, "the last words I'll speak is an old Indian saying, \o7hok-ah-ei \f7-- it's a good day to die."