PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by the Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:
Today, attorneys for Terrance Williams have issued a statement in response to the news that Governor Corbett has signed a warrant for execution, scheduled for October 3, 2012.
"Most Pennsylvanians would agree that the death penalty is the punishment for the worst of the worst offenders, not for traumatized victims of sexual abuse who strike back at their abusers. Terry Williams' story is one of horrific childhood sexual and physical abuse. A victim of sexual abuse since the age of 6, Terry was preyed on repeatedly by older males throughout his childhood. Born into poverty, with a violently abusive mother and no father, Terry was vulnerable and victimized by a series of predators. Deeply traumatized from the sexual and physical abuse, at the ages of 17 and 18, Terry killed two of those predators. Terry is profoundly remorseful for these crimes.
Unfortunately, the jury at Terry's capital trial didn't hear about his abusive childhood or that the two men he killed were two of his abusers. Also, jurors mistakenly believed that if they sentenced Terry to life in prison he would be eligible for parole. Several jurors now say they would have voted for life in prison without the possibility of parole instead of death if they had known this important information.
Terry's case is unique, and Terry is deserving of mercy. We hope that those with the power to prevent this injustice will agree that Terry's death sentence should be commuted to life without the possibility of parole."
Shawn Nolan, Assistant Chief, Capital Habeas Unit, Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
August 9, 2012
SOURCE Federal Community Defender Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania