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Death Row's Terrance Williams could get new chance at clemency

Written by Megan Lello, witf Reporter and Producer | Sep 24, 2012 2:31 PM

(Harrisburg) -- The state Board of Pardons is weighing whether or not another meeting is needed to reconsider its decision not to recommend clemency for a Philadelphia man who's slated to be put to death next month. Forty-six-year-old Terrance Williams of Philadelphia would only be the fourth person in Pennsylvania to be executed for murder since 1995. terrance-williams.jpg

He's alleged he was sexually abused by his two victims, and one molested him the night before Williams killed him.

Spero Lappas of the Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty says that's reason enough to revisit the case. Speaking on witf's Radio Smart Talk, he says, "If that is true, and if that had been presented at trial, it could have persuaded the jury to find that this was a mitigating circumstance that warranted a life sentence instead of a death sentence."

Jules Epstein, associate professor at Widener Law, says the state does not have open file discovery laws, which would require the prosecution to share its information with the defense. He says it's "not a palatable situation" if there was information important to the case that the prosecution didn't relay to the defense.

The board would need to reach a unanimous decision in order to send a clemency recommendation to the governor.

A Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge is set to decide whether to issue an emergency stay of execution.

Williams' execution is set for October 3rd.

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