Terry Williams

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Click here to read the statement from attorneys for Terry Williams in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-3 decision in favor of Mr. Williams in Williams v. Pennsylvania.

Click here to read the statement from attorneys for Terry Williams in response to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision to uphold Governor Wolf's temporary reprieve for Mr. Williams.

Click here to read the press release of June 17, 2015 about how Governor Wolf's temporary reprieve for Terry Williams is entirely consistent with Pennsylvania governors' use of the reprieve power for the last 300 years.

Click here to see long-hidden evidence that prosecutors knew Amos Norwood had a history of  sexually molesting kids.

Click here to see the people who have stated their support for clemency for Terry, including the victim's widow, jurors from Terry's trial, members of the community, and political and human rights organizations.

Terry at age 17.
Source: Germantown High School
Current photo of Terry. 
Source: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

Below is a summary of the main issues in Terry's application for clemency. 

The Victim's Widow Supports 
Clemency for Terry

Amos Norwood's widow, Mamie Norwood,
has forgiven Terry and does not want him 
to be executed. She believes she can find 
peace and closure without any more loss 
of life, and hopes that the Board of 
Pardons and the Governor will show 
Terry mercy.

Terry's History of Physical Abuse

Terry Williams was raised by a violently 
abusive single mother. When Terry was 10, 
his mother married an alcoholic who 
brutalized both Terry and his mother. The 
physical and emotional abuse so damaged 
him thathe desperately sought the attention
and approval of older males who could 
replace he father he never knew. Terry's 
desperation and vulnerability made him an
 easy target for sexual predators. 

Terry's History of Sexual Abuse

Both of Terry's crimes directly related to his
 extensive history of sexual abuse by older 
males, which began when he was six years
 old. One of his abusers was his former 
public schoolteacher. That abuse caused 
Terry such intense pain and confusion that 
he began cutting himself and engaging in 
other acts of self-mutilation. As is too often 
the case in instances of childhood sexual 
abuse, Terry was ashamed and suffered 
largely in silence. No one intervened to protect Terry from his multiple abusers. As Pennsylvanians are now well aware, sexual abuse often goes unreported for years, sometimes decades. Like many victims, Terry was not able to tell his story at the time.

Terry was Victimized by the Men He Killed

The jury that sentenced Terry to death never heard that both of the men who 
Terry killed, like many sexual predators, were significantly older men who used 
their positions of power and authority to prey on vulnerable underage boys. 
Terry was one of those boys. In fact, the night before he committed the crime for 
which he was sentenced to death, Terry was violently sexually assaulted by the man he killed – a man who had been sexually abusing Terry for years, and who used his position in the local church to prey on other boys.

The Jury Never Heard This 
Evidence at Trial

In sworn affidavits, jurors who sentenced
 Terry have acknowledged that they 
would not have voted for a death 
sentence had they known about the 
sexual abuse he suffered as a child, the
abuse he suffered at the hands of the men
he killed, and the psychological impact of 
that abuse. In addition, several jurors have
stated that they voted for Terry to be put 
to death only because they mistakenly believed that if they did not sentence Terry to death he would later become eligible for release on parole. In truth, both now and at the time of his sentencing, a life sentence in Pennsylvania meant that Terry Williams would never have been eligible for parole. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not require the judge to instruct the jury that a life sentence means life without the possibility of parole, and no such instruction was given in Terry’s case.

Terry is Deeply Remorseful

Terry is deeply remorseful for killing
 Herbert Hamilton and Amos Norwood
and he expresses genuine anguish
 over the pain and loss that their families
 and communities suffered. In prison, 
Terry has grown close to God. He prays 
that the Hamilton and Norwood families 
can find peace in their lives. Terry has 
demonstrated an ongoing desire to 
become a better person and to make a 
positive impact from behind the prison walls. Terry has demonstrated an overall positive adjustment to prison. His record indicates that he will be well managed if he were to spend the remainder of his natural life in prison under a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. If granted clemency, he will gladly and obediently accept his punishment.