Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said Friday prosecutors suppressed evidence that Williams' victim was an alleged pedophile who abused boys, including Williams.
However, Sarmina upheld Williams' first-degree murder conviction.
Williams' lawyers say police and prosecutors withheld evidence about the sexual link between him and victim Amos Norwood, so the jury never heard about it before voting for a death sentence.
Philadelphia prosecutors deny any wrongdoing in the 1986 trial.
Williams would be the first person executed involuntarily in Pennsylvania since 1962.
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