Terrance Williams, 46,was scheduled to die by lethal injection last Wednesday in Pennsylvania, and it was decided by the Judge that they would reevaluate the sentencing to the convicted murderer due to new information. What lead the judge to such action were the cries of thousands of people who were on the side of Williams, claiming that he deserved a pardon because the man he killed so many years ago was sexually abusing him.
Judge M. Teresa Samina determined that the evidence of the sexual abuse was withheld by the prosecution for the trial that took place in 1984, claiming that Williams beat Amos Norwood to death. This evidence showed that Williams was not the only victim of the sexual abuse but the victim had multiple homosexual relationships with minors during that time. The judge ruled that had the court heard this information in the 80’s when the original trial was occurring, it would have been likely that the court would have ruled very differently, mainly not sentenced him to death.
At the time of the original trial, the court was convinced that the murder happened because Williams was trying to rob Norwood, when in reality that was far from the truth. The defense team was able to recover evidence that proved Norwood was a homosexual, and had been sexually abusing Terrence Williams since he was 13 years old. When he was 18, he could no longer take it anymore, and he beat Norwood, a 56 year old man, to death. According to reports this evidence was in the documents that sat in case files for 28 years, and just now did they come out. Unfortunately for Williams, the court will not give him the opportunity for a new trial because of the recent evidence, though the judge has agreed to halt the execution and give him a new sentencing for the murder.
Now that Judge Sarmina has ordered a stay in the execution, she will have to get it approved by the State Supreme Court in order to prevent Terrance Williams from dying by lethal injection. According to the New York Times, if the court does not approve this motion, then this will be the first case in which an inmate is killed by execution in 13 years and the first time in over 50 years for an inmate who did not chose the death.
The judge believes that somehow the prosecution suppressed the information about the abuse all those years ago, though they argue that they had no evidence and it was all in Williams head because he chose not to mention it as an excuse for the murder. Shawn Nolan, Terrance Williams’s defense attorney expresses his confidence that the State Supreme Court will rule in favor of Jude Sarmina’s decision. He addresses the fact that it is not just a matter of a few more years behind bars, it is a matter of life and death. If the court decides that the evidence is not worthy, then Williams will die for a crime he committed as a response to five years of sexual abuse by a homosexual older man.
Having a strong criminal defense attorney on your side is crucial in the event that the court is seeking to take a person’s life for the crime. If you know someone who was accused of a crime, don’t let them go another moment without an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Knowles Law Firm today for more information and to discuss your case; your loved ones lives are at stake, call today!