(Convicted Murdered Terry Williams circa 1984)
The murder was obviously pre-meditated, as was the sexual abuse Terry Williams suffered at the hands of the murder victim. But much of the evidence was never presented to a jury, and he now sits just days away from being the first man to be executed in Pennsylvania in nearly 50 years.
A Philadelphia judge on Friday granted a condemned man a rare hearing to weigh whether prosecutors failed to disclose key evidence indicating the true motive behind a grisly killing nearly 30 years ago.
The ruling is a major break for Terry Williams, 46, slated to be the first prisoner in more than 50 years to be executed in Pennsylvania while still appealing his sentence. Attorneys for Williams say his life should be spared due to his traumatic and violent childhood, and the fact that he was sentenced to die for killing a man who sexually abused him and other teenage boys.
Judge Teresa Sarmina, of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, did not stay Williams’ execution, which is scheduled for Oct. 3, but allowed a hearing next Thursday that opens the door to that possibility. His attorneys want Williams’ sentence reduced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Williams was sentenced to die for murdering Amos Norwood, 56, a chemist and church volunteer, whose body was found stabbed, bludgeoned and partially burned in a Philadelphia cemetery in June 1984. Police traced Norwood’s stolen credit card to Williams and Marc Draper, a childhood friend who pleaded guilty to murder and implicated Williams in the crime.
His arrest and trial shocked the city. A college freshman, Williams was the star quarterback of his championship high school football team, and a popular and academically gifted student.
Should This Man Be Executed?
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