PA death row inmate awaits word on execution

Written by The Associated Press | Oct 3, 2012 9:40 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's Corrections Department says it is prepared to execute a condemned inmate if the courts give the go-ahead.

A  judge has stayed today's scheduled execution of 46-year-old Terrance "Terry" Williams and granted him a new hearing to determine whether his sentenced should be reduced to life imprisonment as he has requested.

The  judge believes prosecutors hid evidence at Williams' 1986 murder trial.

But Williams' death warrant remains in effect until midnight and Philadelphia prosecutors have appealed to the state Supreme Court, which could put the execution back on track.

Sue McNaughton, a spokeswoman for the Corrections Department, won't say whether Williams has been transferred to Rockview state prison in Bellefonte, where executions by lethal injection are carried out.

But she says the department is "in a posture to carry out the sentence" if the stay is lifted.

Defense lawyers say the state's high court shouldn't decide ``on the fly'' whether he lives or dies by a midnight deadline tonight.

They're waiting to hear if the state Supreme Court will restore his death sentence.

Williams' lawyers, in a filing this morning, say prosecutors never appealed the new sentencing hearing. They say Williams can't be executed without a valid death sentence.

They will file an immediate appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if the state prepares to execute the 46-year-old Williams.

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