Terry Williams is on death row in Pennsylvania for murdering two older men who raped him and physically abused him, something he had endured from a succession of predators from the age of six until he killed two of them them around the time of his 18th birthday. The jury didn't get to hear about the rape, and jurors who subsequently learned about it stated they wouldn't have advocated for the death penalty if they'd known all the facts of the case. A vocal campaign for clemency has grown up, including the widow of one of the men Williams killed.
Pennsylvania should not execute Terry Williams because:
- Terry suffered horrific sexual and physical abuse during his childhood and no one intervened to get him help when he was boy;
- The jury did not know about his history of childhood sexual abuse and trauma;
- The jury did not know that the men he killed were his abusers;
- Terry was only 18 years old at the time of the crime for which he was sentenced to death and the jury did not know about the psychological impact of sexual abuse on someone as young as Terry;
- Jurors did not know that he would never be eligible for parole;
- Jurors have stated that they would not have voted for death if they had known about his sexual abuse and ineligibility for parole; and
- The victim’s widow does not want Terry executed for her husband’s killing.
For all these reasons, we urge the members of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, and Governor Tom Corbett to commute Terry’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.