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Abuse Victim or Pathological Liar?

Terrance Williams’ attorneys claim that prosecutors 25 years ago withheld evidence that could have granted Williams life in prison instead of lethal injection for murdering Amos Norwood. Prosecutors say Williams is trying every trick in the bag to get out of a death sentence.

‘Terry’ Williams, two-time convicted murderer who was set to be executed by lethal injection in Pennsylvania just this week, was granted  a stay of execution and a new sentence hearing, claiming that his victim Amos Norwood, raped him the day before Williams killed him with a tire iron. During his trial almost 25 years ago, prosecutors failed to mention that the two had a homosexual relationship, according to Williams’ attorneys. Williams’ attorneys—and in fact, a juror herself—claim that had they known, they would not have sentenced him to die.

Terrance ‘Terry’ Williams

Williams’ attorneys paint the picture of Williams as an 18 year old victim that had endured abuse from Norwood since he was a child  Both Williams and his friend Eric Draper were freshmen at Cheyney University when police arrested them for the murder/robbery of 56 year-old Norwood.

Norwood’s body was found propped up against a headstone in a cemetery. His car and credit card were in Atlantic City where Williams and Draper went to go gamble.  

Seth Williams, District Attorney of Philadelphia, paints a very different picture of Terry Williams. In an op-ed he wrote for Philly.com D.A. Williams claims Terry Williams is a liar who has desperately tried to manipulate his way out of every accusation and evidence presented. Claiming that sexual abuse was the motive for Norwood’s murder is just another one of those lies.

The thing is, Williams probably is a liar. It’s unlikely that the man who did this  hasn’t told his share of fibs. Maybe he was a victim of sexual abuse by older men, maybe he was a prostitute using cash to finance a gambling habit. But let’s remember that plenty of sex abuse victims or prostitutes do not go on to bludgeon and stab their aggressors/clients.

The prosecution may have withheld information all those years ago—the judge certainly thinks so. But what’s more important is whether that information is enough for a jury to garner sympathy for the two-time murderer. In the new penalty phase granted to Williams, he may very well be sentenced to death again by the new jury.

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