Should Terry Williams Die For Murdering His Abuser?

In a case that is garnering a lot of attention in Pennsylvania, Terrance “Terry” Williams is scheduled to die October 3rd for the death of Amos Norwood, whom Williams alleges sexually assaulted him.

A judge, however, has asked for a hearing to be held so he can hear testimony about how the prosecutors withheld the fact that Norwood had allegedly violently raped Williams the night before. Norwood has also been accused of touching many other young boys in the church where he was employed.

Five jurors have stepped forward to say that they would have handed down a life in prison sentence had they had all the evidence.

If Williams is put to death on October 3rd, he will be the first person to be non-voluntarily put to death in Pennsylvania in 50 years (that is to say, the first death row convict to be put to death who has appealed his sentence.)

What do you think of this case? Should Terry Williams be held to his original sentence for the grisly crime? If not, should any punishment be handed down to the prosecutor in the original trial?




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    Penn. board rejects clemency in murder case, execution still planned- well that is a bag of suck in my book.

  2. Here we go. Just found the legal guidelines regarding withholding potentially exculpatory evidence.

    The United States has a duty under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), to provide favorable evidence to the defendant. United States v. Blanco, 392 F.3d 382, 387 (9th Cir.2004). Not only must a prosecutor disclose favorable evidence of which he personally is aware, but also he must ask others who are involved in the prosecution whether they are aware of any favorable evidence. Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419, 437, 115 S.Ct. 1555, 131 L.Ed.2d 490 (1995). “[S]uppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.” Brady, 373 U.S. at 87, 83 S.Ct. 1194.

  3. The prosecutor should not withhold potentially mitigating evidence. However, I’m wondering if Williams told his own attorney about the sexual abuse? There is no mention in the article that Williams ever claimed to have been sexually abused or claimed that he was motivated by anger about the sexual abuse. There is no mention that his attorney tried to put it into evidence.

    That said, I’m opposed to the death penalty.

  4. If he truly was abused to a considerable degree then I probably wouldn’t care if he shot the abuser. If it was just a grope, then murder is too far, but I’d let him off for hitting the abuser. But then again it’s probably better the lawyers etc handle that stuff, I can be a bit medieval in thought, if I were raped now I’d probably wanna kill the rapist if they weren’t given a severe punishment by the courts…

    • It’s not okay to kill someone because they raped you or did something bad to you. We all have people we’d like to kill but if you are a sane person – YOU DON’T ACT ON THAT URGE!

      Murder is wrong in every case except self-defense. Making exceptions should never be okay. You don’t get to play God. You don’t get to decide who lives or dies.

      Now we’ll see lots of cases of people murdering other people, then using the “abuse excuse”.

      I was raped and I got over it. I will never understand the puritan mentality of most Americans. Sex isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. Not even close.

    • “If it was just a grope, then murder is too far, but I’d let him off for hitting the abuser. ”

      Who are you to say what “too far” is? Murder is wrong in every case except self-defense, that’s what the law says. Stop using the “abuse excuse.”

      • Of course I’d love for people to the police after, but it’s a traumatic event, it does affect people and their judgments especially just after the attack. If it’s an ongoing abuse and the cops aren’t doing anything, should we punish a murder the same as other murders?

        It’s not the right or just thing to do, but I can see how and why it happens. People don’t always think rationally after a trauma like that, and I believe that’s already a mitigating factor. I know murder is wrong, but if I was raped I’d surely feel a hell of a lot of rage and that could lead me to murder just like anyone. But I’m not going to show all that much sympathy for someone that attacks someone, and get’s fucked up as a result of it, especially during the attack as in self-defense.

        BTW, I’m not American, nor do I believe rape is the worst thing in the world. I just don’t have sympathy for abusers.

      • Actually the law says that normally sane people committing insane actions seconds after a seriously traumatic event is a valid defense. It’s called “temporary insanity.” Very different from a vengeance killing like what this is in a legal sense, but the difference is the elapsed length of time, not the mental state of the victim-turned-agressor.

  5. If the rape allegations are plausible and the prosecutor withheld this evidence then:
    Prosecuted should be fired, disbarred and his pension should be jerked.
    Then let him earn a living based upon performance like piece work roofing.
    It is obscene that prosecutors think their job is to keep up the batting average.
    This guy is a public servant- he had a responsibility to see justice done and in my book it is entirely possible that Terry Williams served up justice…
    I ponder from time to time timely justice and revenge- In June a Texas Father beat a man to death, within minutes of him being caught raping his 4 year old and sensibly he was never charged.
    This I am ok with- had the Father taken a week to screw up his courage I would have a bit of trouble with the act, a month & I would say let the law take care of it.
    I don’t know and tonight don’t have the time to i google this and figure how and why Terry killed this guy- but if it took a day to formulate a plan and to obtain a weapon to put a rapist down- I’m thinking good for him.

    • Oops it is certainly much more complicated than – man rapes boy, boy kills man….Williams has also been convicted of another assault on a child molester…
      Maybe he’s an avenger?
      Maybe the death penalty is a terrible wasted of the taxpayers money.

    • “In June a Texas Father beat a man to death, within minutes of him being caught raping his 4 year old and sensibly he was never charged”

      Sensibly? Hmmm, last time I checked murder was against the law. But people like to use the abuse excuse to justify violence.

      Good for him? He’s a murderer. Are you saying murder should only be illegal if the murder victim is a saint? It’s not okay to kill people, even bad people. Murderers and pro-vigilante types are more of a threat to society than rapists. But Americans say sex is worse than violence, so that is why we give a free pass to violent offenders like this guy but attack sex offenders.

      • @how – in the TX case I understand the father mortally wounded the perpetrator in the course of stopping the rape. So in my world it is a no brainer. He is not a murderer he was protecting his family.
        Murder,is illegal, killing isn’t always. Sometimes killing and murder are justifiable- in my world…
        I also believe in putting out fires and shooting mad dogs- but then I’m not very civilized,or evolved.
        I’m not sure what is right- hence my,discussion of violence within time parameters.
        & incidentally you sound pretty damned healthy, to me, vis what seems to be an understanding that rape is just another assault …. I’ve taken beatings and rather quickly got past the physical healing and some minimal embarrassment.

        • Legally it IS sometimes justifiable. That’s why there are extremely strict discovery laws in criminal proceedings. ANY AND ALL potentially exculpatory evidence the prosecution uncovers has to be shared with the defendant in discovery.

          I’m surprised that this is actually an issue. I believe when something like this occurs the proper legal course is an acquittal. It goes to the heart of the “fair trial by your peers” issue.

          In a less legalistic sense, I’m right there with you but probably more extreme. I DO, in fact, have no problem with vigilante justice against rapists… by the victim. Being a victim of a serious violation like that screws with your head hardcore. To say that someone can come back to their senses enough for it to not be an excuse for revenge after a period of minutes just doesn’t sound reasonable to me.

          You can’t claim on the one hand that temporary insanity is only a legal defense if the illegal action is taken seconds or minutes after the trigger, but on the other hand extensive counseling and therapy for PTSD is needed for months or years after the trigger.

          Would we even be having this discussion if it was a white woman accused of killing her rapist the day after instead of a young black man?


  1. […] a controversial case we covered earlier in September, Terry Williams was scheduled to die for killing the man who allegedly abused. We asked readers whether he should […]

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