|| Terry Williams will die on October 3
His attorneys contest he had a long history of sexual abuse as a child and killed two of his abusers, facts that weren't told to the jury in his trial
by Bill Murray
Sept. 13, 2012
Here's a time sensitive issue that several people asked me to talk about. The bulk of this information, and the original petition itself (below) are appearing on Change.org
Pennsylvania has the fourth most death row inmates and one, Terry Williams, is scheduled to be executed early next month. His will be the state's first non-voluntary execution in more than 30 years.
Williams only met his lawyer a week before his trial, not enough time to establish an adequate defense, and many people, including jurors, were shocked to later learn he'd been sexually assaulted as a child by the man he killed for many years.
Even his homicide victim's widow is opposed to his receiving the death penalty.
Here's the info from Change.org :
Terry Williams is facing the death penalty in three weeks for killing the man who repeatedly raped him.
But when Terry was convicted, the jury didn't know the whole story. At the time of his trial, jurors say they had no history or background of the sexual assault and abuse that Terry Williams had suffered for years.
Terry was brutally raped for five years, beginning when he was thirteen, by an older man he trusted -- Amos Norwood. When the jury learned his information after the trial, five jurors came forward to say that they no longer supported his death sentence. Even Norwood's widow has forgiven him, and does not want Terry to be executed.
Sign the petition on Change.org asking Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania to stop Terry's execution scheduled on October 3 -- click here to add your name.
"When I heard about Terry Williams' life and his legal case, I knew I had to do what I could to stop the scheduled execution of a man who should not be on death row and would not be on death row had the jury heard all the relevant evidence," said Sue Osthoff, Director of the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women, a Philadelphia-based organization that assists victims of abuse and trauma who have been charged with crimes related to their abuse.
Like many of the victims of abuse Sue assists, Terry was repeatedly victimized. For Terry, that abuse by older males in his life started when he was only six years old. Despite continuing to suffer sexual abuse for the next twelve years, Terry received no counseling or support to help him deal with the repeated violence he endured. In fact, some of the people who were supposed to help were the ones who actually preyed on him.
None of this information was presented to the jurors during Terry's sentencing; had it been, Terry would not be on death row.
The public outcry for Terry's clemency is growing. A broad coalition of people has joined the jurors and victim's widow in asking that Terry's sentence be commuted from death to life. Those calling for Terry's life to be spared include a growing list of child advocates, victims' rights advocates, former prosecutors and judges, law professors, mental health professionals, and faith leaders across Pennsylvania.
Sue Osthoff is very familiar with stories like Terry's. She started this petition because she believes that if the jury had all of the evidence, they would not have sentenced Terry to death.
Join Sue in calling on Governor Corbett to spare Terry Williams' life for killing the man who raped him.
Thanks for being a change-maker,
- Emilia and the Change.org team
~~~~~~~ see petition below ~~~~~~~~
|Petitioning PA Board of Pardons
This petition will be delivered to:
PA Board of Pardons
District Attorney Seth Williams
Governor Tom Corbett
Governor Tom Corbett, PA Board of Pardons, District Attorney Seth Williams:Grant Clemency to Terrance Williams, Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse
by Sue Osthoff -- Philadelphia, PA
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is preparing to execute Terrance “Terry” Williams on October 3, 2012, in spite of staunch opposition to his execution from the victim's widow, five jurors from trial, child advocates, former prosecutors and judges, faith leaders, mental health professionals, law professors and others.
I urgently appeal to Governor Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, and District Attorney Seth Williams to spare Terrance Williams' life and allow him to be sentenced to life without parole.
Throughout his childhood, Terry suffered prolonged violent physical and sexual abuse from older males. Born into poverty with a violently abusive mother and absent father, Terry faced abuse and neglect in his home that made him vulnerable to sexual predators. He was first raped by an older boy when he was only six years old, and he continued to suffer sexual abuse for the next twelve years. Like too many other victims of child sexual abuse, Terry received no counseling or support to help him deal with the repeated traumas he endured; in fact, some of the people who were supposed to help Terry preyed on him.
As a teenager, Terry became acquainted with two middle-aged men who used their influence as a church leader and as a sports booster to get access to young boys. These men sexually abused and brutally exploited Terry. After years of suffering unimaginable horrors, when he was 17- and 18-years old, Terry killed these two men – and now faces death.
Terry's tragic history of abuse was never presented at trial. Because of this, several jurors who sentenced him to death now support commuting his sentence to life without parole. At the time of trial, Terry was traumatized and ashamed of the violence he suffered, and his lawyer did not investigate obvious signs of abuse. The jury thus did not hear any evidence about the relentless abuse Terry faced, nor did they know that the two men he killed were in fact his abusers.
Jurors have stated that that if they had known all the facts about Terry's background and his abuse by the men he killed, they would not have voted for death.
The widow of the man whose killing resulted in Terry's death sentence has forgiven Terry and does not want him to be executed. She has found peace and closure and does not wish to see any more loss of life. The victim's widow has expressed herhope that Governor Corbett, the Board of Pardons, and District Attorney Williams will show Terry mercy.
In addition to the victim's widow and jurors, there has been an unprecedented outpouring of support from prominent groups and individuals across Pennsylvania. Child advocates, former prosecutors and judges, faith leaders, mental health professionals, law professors and others have publicly supported commuting Terry's sentence to life without parole.
Terry is deeply remorseful for his actions and prays that the families of the men he killed can find peace.
You can read more about Terry's case, including the numerous letters in support of clemency, here: www.TerryWilliamsClemency.com
I join in asking Governor Corbett, the Board of Pardons, and District Attorney Williams to spare Terrance Williams' life.
SAMPLE PETITION LETTER:
I just signed the following petition addressed to: Governor Tom Corbett, PA Board of Pardons, District Attorney Seth Williams.
Grant clemency to Terrance Williams, survivor of child sexual abuse
On October 3, 2012, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is preparing to execute Terrance "Terry" Williams, who suffered prolonged violent physical and sexual abuse from older males beginning when he was just 6 years old. The jury never heard evidence of his history of abuse, or the fact that his crime was directly related to the violence he endured. Commonwealth officials should spare his life.