Pennsylvania seems likely to conduct its first execution in 13 years Oct. 3, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Gov. Tom Corbett signed a death warrant for Terrance Williams, 46, who was convicted of a 1984 robbery-murder when he was an 18-year-old college freshman. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected his last appeal June 29.
Williams’ only legal hope is an emergency petition asking a judge to stay execution based on newly discovered evidence that Williams had been sexually molested throughout his life – including for a dozen years by the man he murdered. Williams’ lawyer, Shawn Nolan of the Federal Defender’s Office in Philadelphia, said the victim, Amos Norwood, 56, had a sexual relationship with Williams that began when Williams was 13. The jury that convicted Williams didn’t know about the abusive nature of the relationship, said Nolan, who added, “A number of jurors have told us that if they had known about it, they wouldn’t have sentenced him to death.”